Health and Safety
Event hero image

French Women Filmmakers • Claire Denis

  • Thursday, December 7 • 6:30 p.m.

  • Free for members and students* • $15 Non-Members

  • On Site - Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In French with English subtitles

This event has passed

Cet évènement est passé


Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988, 105 min., France)

Chocolat appropriates the conventions of a romance plot to comment on restrictive social structures. It’s brilliantly executed—a story told completely in small but significant gestures. – Darren Hughes

A cliché in detective fiction, “look for the woman” means to look for the source of mayhem to solve the mystery… This is exactly what we’ve done – look for la femme behind the camera to bring you the most memorable films made by women from France and beyond.

Claire Denis drew on her own childhood experiences growing up in colonial French Africa for her multilayered, languorously absorbing feature debut, which explores many of the themes that would recur throughout her work. After many years living in France, a White woman returns to her hometown in Cameroon and reflects on her relationship with a Black servant with whom she formed a friendship while not fully grasping the racial divides that governed their worlds. -Museum of Fine Arts of Houston

With a complimentary glass of Bourgogne Louis Jadot. Enter a chance to win Sofitel’s Le Bar gift certificate at this screening! Wine served at 6:00 p.m., program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Post-screening discussion with Nick Davis, Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University. Series curated by Nick Davis, Aimée Laberge and Paprika Bonnin-Occansey.

* Entrée Libre for students with ID on-site/.edu addresses online. High school, college or university.

About Claire Denis

Born in Paris on April 21, 1948, Claire Denis, the daughter of a civil servant, was raised in a series of African countries until she was 14, when her family returned to France. She learned about filmmaking as an assistant to a number of notable directors, including Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, and Costa-Gavras. 

She made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration of colonial life and emotional conflicts in 1950s West Africa as viewed through the eyes of a young French girl. The film proved to be a very auspicious debut, screening at Cannes that year and earning both a Golden Palm nomination and a César nomination for Best New Director. 

Denis followed her debut the next year with Man No Run, then made S’en fout la mort (No Fear, No Die, 1990). Like her previous films, both gave specific focus to cultural displacement and racial conflict, themes that would be further explored in J’ai Pas Sommeil (I Can’t Sleep, 1994). Denis then occasionally directed for television, before making Nénette et Boni and Beau Travail. 

The latter has been called one of the greatest films of the 1990s and of all time. Other acclaimed works include Trouble Every Day (2001), 35 Shots of Rum (2008), White Material (2009), High Life (2018), Both Sides of the Blade (2022), and Stars at Noon, the last of which won her the Grand Prix at  the 2022 Cannes Film Festival .

Trailer Here

Our event partners


Share this page