When the great French director Claire Denis stopped by our offices for a visit this spring, she had plenty of reason to be feeling ecstatic. Her new film Let the Sunshine In, a romantic comedy starring Juliette Binoche, was opening in New York to wide acclaim. And her latest work, a mysterious sci-fi project called High Life, was just a few months away from being selected for some of the world’s most prestigious festival lineups (just yesterday, it was announced as part of the New York Film Festival’s main slate). But a trip to our closet put her in a contemplative mood, as she was surrounded by so many movies that have shaped her life as an artist—an experience she called “a bit frightening.” In the above video, she recalls her formative encounters with the transcendent works of Carl Theodor Dreyer, jokes about Howard Hawks making her feel like “such a failure,” and gets emotional about Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika, a wistful ode to young love that fills her with a sense of nostalgia and lost time.
On a recent visit, the award-winning Sex and the City star chatted with us about falling in love with movies as a child and the Hollywood and art-house classics that have been her personal touchstones.