High Life (2018)
July 5, 2019 8:45 AM - Subscribe

Monte and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. They must now rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole. Claire Denis's latest. In space. In English. Insane. Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter, last survivors on a spaceship, hurtle to the oblivion of a black hole. Sounds simple, maybe depressing, maybe tense, right? Oh but it's so much more. Or maybe not. Or maybe not happening at all. Or it's the ultimate reduction of humanity's destiny, contained in a box for us to watch. For fans of all-things-Denis, Pattinson, or Binoche. Similar in feel to some 70s slow dystopian space-thingy. Think Tarkovsky, Silent Running, Man Who Fell To Earth crossed with Trouble Every Day, and/or Bastards
posted by Harry Caul (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Deleted post from the blue, with some bonus links.

Sounds interesting, thanks for sharing this!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for providing the deleted post, I'm still learning me some metafilter.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2019

I've had a few days of it rolling around in my memory.
I took this film as shooting for a Denis-does-Papillon-in-space. Her work so far is legendary for pointing out the harms and insanity of colonialism's legacy, at places in culture we don't think of them as being so obvious, and in a manner that's so laden with the sensuality of being alive and human you're not immediately aware of all there is about her characters' scenarios.

And I can still try to put what I saw in that frame, but . . . what's still sitting in the frame is just pictures of Benetton models in longline occasionally punching each other in the face, for the most part. With the occasional reminder that oh yeah, this is in a spaceship.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:06 AM on July 5, 2019

I really wanted to see this in the theater but I think it played for a week and we missed it.
posted by octothorpe at 2:03 PM on July 5, 2019

Ok I haven't seen this film yet, but I was curious about it so here I am. Harry Caul, your description of Denis' work sounds amazing. I'm not familiar with anything else, but I see she's done a lot. Are there any particular films you would recommend?
posted by miss-lapin at 5:46 AM on July 6, 2019

Sure! Beau Travail, (a rework of Billy Budd as almost a ballet of military life), White Material (Isabelle Huppert tries to hold on to family plantation amidst coming revolution in Cameroon). Denis has made my favorite vampire/horror movie Trouble Every Day as well, it outdoes Cronenberg at moments for sheer body horror. But my personal fave is L'Intrus (The Intruder). Whatever you find, watch at least two of them, her masterful and unique intuitive approach to narrative comes to the front when seen more than once. And she and her cinematographers have an amazing gift for imagery.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:01 AM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I hate to be a bummer, but I really didn't like this movie. It did not come together into anything compelling for me. And mostly it just seemed so grotesque in its indulgence in extremes. The doctor in the fuck box, the doctor in pretty much every scene, the careful dwelling on semen samples, the woman covered in her own breast milk. They're powerful images and I guess are saying something about humanity and reproduction and bodily fluids. But I never could figure out what it was trying to say, if anything, and came to the conclusion it wasn't really saying anything at all. And as a straight-up scifi story it was pretty thin.
posted by Nelson at 7:03 AM on July 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Me likey!

No plot surprises for me, a devoted fan of slow-dystopias-in-space. But as someone who finds a sense of security and pleasure in the haunted-spaceship genre, well done! I especially liked the willfully-down-budget ship corridor.

I think Binoche’s scripted role and character are the most interesting and unique part of the film, a couple of inventive shots aside.

There were a couple hard SF beats that the film fumbled (7 does not remain tethered to 9 in perpetuity in order to maximize resources? naw) but it’s not intended as a hard SF film any more than Sunshine or any incarnation of Solaris. Thumbs up!
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 PM on October 16, 2019

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