High Life

The astounding first foray of Claire Denis (Beau Travail) into the world of science fiction reconfigures its familiar components to create a startlingly fresh engagement with the question of what it means to be human.

Time & Tickets

Deep space. Beyond our solar system. Monte and his infant daughter Willow live together aboard a spacecraft, in complete isolation. A solitary man, whose strict self-discipline is a protection against desire – his own and that of others – Monte fathered the girl against his will. His sperm was used to inseminate Boyse, the young woman who gave birth to her. They were members of a crew of prisoners: space convicts, death row inmates. Guinea pigs sent on a mission to the black hole closest to Earth. Now only Monte and Willow remain. And Monte is changed. Through his daughter, for the first time, he experiences the birth of an all-powerful love. Willow grows, becoming a young girl, then a young woman. Together, alone, father and daughter approach their destination – the black hole in which all time and space cease to exist.

Claire Denis, Germany, France, UK, Poland, USA, 2018, 110 min. English spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, Mia Goth, Lars Eidinger.

A pretty unusual cast – that’s the least one can say about HIGH LIFE. Take Robert Pattinson, Twilight-superstar turned arthouse-superhunk, who for four years unsuccessfully coveted a meeting with Denis. Only when they got to know each other, the director realized that, despite his iconic status, Pattinson possessed a mysterious aura. Juliette Binoche already collaborated with Denis. Initially, the director had Patricia Arquette in mind for HIGH LIFE, but this partnership was cancelled. 'La Binoche' offered herself and Denis accepted, but the role in question changed: "I wanted to change that feminine persona into something closer to a magician, a magician of reproduction". The result is a very devious Binoche, with hair down to her buttocks. Last but not least: André Benjamin, better known as André 3000, the extravagant half of the late hip-hop duo Outkast. Their album ATLIENS (1996) is also rooted in a fascination with the extra-terrestrial. Coincidence, or not? And just as interesting a question: does Claire Denis listen to hip-hop?

Check out this comprehensive Q&A with Denis and Pattinson

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