A film by Claire Denis
2005, 84 minutes
No. 191


Emphasizing raw physicality, craft, and in-the-moment fervor over exposition, Towards Mathilde, from filmmaker Claire Denis (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum, Let the Sunshine In), is a documentary portrait par excellence. 

At its center is Mathilde Monnier, whose title as head of the Montpellier National Centre for Choreography sends her and an elite group of dancers through numerous, demanding performance pieces, each captured on sumptuous 8 and 16mm images by cinematographers Agnès Godard and Hélène Louvart. 

Monnier’s significant talents are a clear point of fascination and admiration for the film crew, yet her mysterious aura — that of an artist totally in command of themselves and, by extension, the viewers — remains throughout. 

Finally presented in the US for the first time, Towards Mathilde is a singular work among Denis’ era-defining oeuvre.

"A must for modern dance and Denis fans." — Leslie Felperin, Variety

"Takes pieces of an artist’s process and creates something new with them. A star directorial performance that expands the boundaries of what a documentary can be." — Travis Mackenzie Hoover, Slant

"A dialogue between two art forms, cinema and dance, and between two women who like to push back the boundaries of their chosen disciplines." — Screen Daily

"Denis is so attuned to Monnier’s sensibilities that one can’t help but notice that, by observing this avant-garde female artist on the cusp of fifty, Denis, an avant-garde female artist on the cusp of sixty, is simultaneously observing herself." — Sarah Silver, Reverse Shot

"Viewers will enjoy being part of the rehearsal experience as Denis tries to capture the development of an artwork as it happens. Dancers/choreographers will be interested in the various aspects of bringing an idea to life and appreciate the commitment needed to make it performance. Recommended." — Educational Media Reviews Online