Note: High Life replaces Beau Travail (Claire Denis 1999), which unfortunately cannot be screened due to technical reasons.
Claire Denis’ latest film is a science fiction riddle with central performances from Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche. Laden with her characteristic fragmentary narrative style, eroticism and violence flirt with each other – often in shocking bursts. At the same time, the film’s premise is fairly easy to relate to, with an exciting basis for inter human relations. And High Life is truly bursting with emotions, body fluids and growing vegetation, in contrast to the clinical surroundings inside the spacecraft.
A group of criminals with death sentences are sent into space on a difficult mission. The goal is to find an alternative source of energy, as well as taking part in experiments connected to human reproduction. The dominant but sensual Dr. Dibs (Binoche) has strict control over the crew, clad in black gloves with the sedative needle always within reach. In the beginning of the film we see Monte (Pattinson) in solitude on the space craft, where he – willingly or not – has obtained responsibility for a little girl. As the story then jumps substantially backwards in time and we get to know the other criminals, we also learn why Monte ends up being the only one left on the eery vessel.
Text by Sveinung Wålengen/Cinemateket