Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. Claire Denis. 2018, 110 mins. DCP. With Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, Mia Goth. Marooned on a failing spaceship, a weary young man (Pattinson) tends to a newborn baby, sustained only by the fruits of an artificial greenhouse and accompanied only by the dead bodies of his former comrades. So begins visionary filmmaker Claire Denis’s High Life, perhaps the most perverse space odyssey ever made. Unfolding in a stream of flashbacks, the film gradually reveals how the ship’s crew, death-row convicts on a suicide run to a black hole, implode under the mental and physical strain of their circumstances, leaving only this man caring for this baby, the spawn of kinky fertility experiments. Imbued with a concentration of time and action rarely achieved in cinema, Denis’s film dispenses with the speculative themes of nearly all science-fiction since Kubrick’s 2001—the march of technological progress, the conquest of terrestrial limits, the search for God—in favor of concerns at once more primal and physical: the imprisoning of the body, the regulation of its functions and desires, and the formation of relationships of kith and kin between prisoners.