The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has chosen writer-director Claire Denis as the recipient of this year’s Career Achievement Award.
LAFCA’s awards honoring the year’s best achievements in filmmaking will be decided by the membership on Sunday, December 11, 2022. Those winners will be honored alongside Denis at the organization’s first in-person awards event in three years, to be held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.
“We are thrilled to be honoring Claire Denis, one of the best living film auteurs and a master at depicting the identity crises faced by both the colonizer and the colonized,” said LAFCA president Claudia Puig. “A distinctive sociopolitical point of view and anti-patriarchal sensibility infuse her work, which is deeply evocative — often tender and intimate but never sentimental — and always uncompromising.”
This year, LAFCA will also introduce gender-neutral acting categories, with two awards for Best Lead Performance and two awards for Best Supporting Performance. Other award categories include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film Not in the English Language, Best Documentary/Nonfiction Film, Best Animation, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Music/Score, New Generation, and the Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award.
Over the five decades since she began her career working with directors including Jacques Rivette, Costa-Gavras and Wim Wenders, Claire Denis has been among the world’s most audacious and adventurous filmmakers. Starting with her 1988 debut, Chocolat, and continuing with films like Beau Travail (1999) and White Material (2009), she has been an especially fearless chronicler of life in colonial and post-colonial Africa. But her mastery of the medium, exemplified by boldly elliptical storytelling and sensual, tactile imagery, knows no geographical or thematic boundaries, whether she’s crossing metaphysical borders in The Intruder (2004) or putting a contemporary French twist on an Ozu classic in 35 Shots of Rum (2008).
Denis has made features that could be classified loosely as horror (Trouble Every Day, 2001), film noir (Bastards, 2013), romantic comedy (Let the Sunshine In, 2017) and science fiction (High Life, 2018). Her many international festival prizes include the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for her drama Nénette and Boni (1996). And earlier this year, she won the Berlin International Film Festival’s directing prize for Both Sides of the Blade and the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival for Stars at Noon.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association is also continuing to offer scholarships for aspiring film critics with the generous support of Rotten Tomatoes. Each year the organization awards two $3,000 scholarships to Los Angeles-area recipients: one to a woman and another to a person from an underrepresented group or groups.