High Life

“It would be a handy phrase to describe one of those elusive films that don’t quite congeal in ways that make stable sense: you could say such a film was ‘like Claire Denis in space.’ And now, that’s what we’ve got: Claire Denis in space. High Life is Denis’s science fiction film – although it’s no more strictly an exercise in that genre than her Trouble Every Day was regular horror, her Bastards a by-the-book thriller, or Beau Travail a docudrama about the pressures of life in the modern Foreign Legion.”

Jonathan Romney1


“Denis’s much talked-about High Life, an unclassifiable science-fiction anti-saga that marks her English-language debut, was like a personalized invitation to visit a filmmaker’s extremely idiosyncratic headspace. And talk about tactile: the surfaces, textures, and objects of Denis’s film are what initially register most, along with a sense of constant and extreme destabilization. After one viewing, I can’t presume to speak as an expert on this fragmentary, ellipsis-laden journey into the far reaches of inner and outer space, but, like many who were at once repelled and enraptured by it, I am fairly sure I will be engaging and wrestling with it for years to come.”

Michael Koresky2