VIDEO | HIGH LIFE | ARTE: UN JOUR DE CINEMA | Claire Denis Shares Her ‘High Life’ Adventure Experience With An Amazing Interview Including Exclusive Behind The Scenes (Translated)

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Translation by Laura, please credit if used.

Claire Denis: First I was scared. Yeah. Fear of the decor. Fear of the movie. Fear to not know how I will be able to do this movie in another language than mine and with actors, except Juliette Binoche, who I had never worked with. Er. A director of photography, too, that I was discovering even if I knew of his work. A production designer. A German team. I was really scared.

We could say that it was the first time I filmed in a studio because the movie does not take place on earth or in any other place would could really exist on earth. I think I loved it because I always said natural decor broght difficulties but when we resolve these problems, it just reassures us and we can tell ourselves: well I cannot really do something else. In a studio, first and foremost you have to invent this space. In the end, the screenplay gives birth to this decor. I think. But after that, of course, it goes through small sketches then it will be in the designer’s hands who is going to work with another team speaking another language. So in the end, it kinda becomes an unknown place as if it was a natural decor.

To start with him. With Robert. Wjo waited FOUR years for the movie. That I had met… At first I told him ‘oh no you’re so young, you look too young’. And when we started the movie he told me ‘It’s okay now I am older. It’s okay.’ And maybe with Robert… who is a reserved and modest actor… who actually really intimidated me. I think his own reserve and shyness intimidated me a lot.

(Far away voice: So we can tell Robert that for him it is done. Just a sec, just a sec. Before saying ‘thanks’ to Robert. But you know I think when you see the background and everything it is pretty… and when we are too near it looses its power.)

When we are out of the atmosphere, out of earth, when we are in this space, this cosmos, there is no more friction, no more air. So we just glide without making any noises if I may say. There is no friction. What is difficult to imagine but still, it is this, that’s the truth. One day, when the movie starts, that is to say four years from earth. Or even should I say from the solar system, there are already 30 to 40 years that have passed on earth and it was not really. what I wanted to show, I did not want it to be a couple of parents or friends growing old. I wanted images from earth to appear as parasites or maybe memories but like those are imprinted in the characters’ memories. I would have loved filming at full speed on the Paris ring road to express this time. This space time which is not the same as the earth time. I would have loved doing it but I did not.

Oliver Dungey, this British producer, told me one day, maybe we had already written a little synopsis with Jean Pol (Fargeau), that he wanted to bring me to Copenhagen in order to meet Olafur Eliasson and I felt as if it was too elaborated at this stage of the movie. But in reality, the meeting with Olafur, will it be at his home in Copenhagen or later in his large studio in Berlin, he helped me to not be too much afraid to make this movie. And there was this infamous ‘yellow light’ that I discovered at his home. He was preparing an expo and it was like I discovered ‘yellow’ for the first time. And it was like, for me, to reach infinity, maybe it was not black or white but it was a color I could sink into and it was this yellow, Olafur’s yellow.

(Far away voice: it was wonderful)

Thanks @sallyvg for the tip!