Nénette et Boni
Nénette et Boni
In the port city of Marseilles, fifteen-year-old Nénette, who is pregnant, escapes from boarding school and descends on Boni, her elder brother. Boni, a pizza vendor who spends his days fantasising about a baker’s wife from the neighbourhood, unwillingly takes her in and learns to balance his new role as a brother and protector. The estranged siblings, who were raised apart, gradually reconnect as they warily confront an unexpected journey together.
Claire Denis once again weaves together characters who build families out of unconventional elements. Employing frequent close-ups, Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard give the film, affectionate in nature and saturated with sensuality, an unreal, metaphysical flavour. The film is a sympathetic portrait of two outcasts exploring their estrangement from and reliance on each other. Nénette et Boni won the Golden Leopard for Best Film and Special Prize for Acting at Locarno International Film Festival.
About the Director
Claire Denis (b. 1946, France) began her career working on set in Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie (1974). Her years working alongside Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch were crucial to her growth as a filmmaker before she directed her debut Chocolat (1988). Her next films I Can’t Sleep (1994) and Nénette et Boni (1996) interweave narratives inspired by the urban culture of Paris. Denis’s elliptical narrative and visual style received widespread acclaim with Beau Travail (1999) while Trouble Every Day (2001) made a shocking presentation in which Denis, regarded as an arthouse director, turned to the horror genre. The 2000s were significant for her career, which saw the release of Friday Night (2002), 35 Shots of Rum (2008), and White Material (2009). In 2022, Both Sides of the Blade and Stars at Noon won prizes at the Berlinale and Cannes respectively. Working closely with her long-time collaborators, such as cinematographer Agnès Godard and the rock band Tindersticks, Denis has contributed a diverse body of work to contemporary cinema.
Image at top: Claire Denis. Nénette et Boni, 1996. Photo: Courtesy of Pyramide International