100 Frames: Vendredi Soir (2002)


This 2002 film from lauded French filmmaker Claire Denis details the spontaneous romance of Laure, a Parisian woman on the eve moving in with her lover, and Jean, a stranger she encounters in the midst of a traffic jam caused by a public transportation strike. One hundred still frames, taken from throughout the film, highlight Denis’s extraordinary framing and mise-en-scène (as well as the formidable talents of her longtime director of photography, Agnès Godard). Cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) introduces the sequence with an appreciation of the film.

Paris-based filmmaker Claire Denis began her career as an assistant director to Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, and Costa-Gavras. Her debut film, 1988’s Chocolat, was dubbed a “miniature classic” by The New York Times’ Vincent Canby. In the ensuing years, Denis has directed over 20 theatrical and television films, including J’ai Pas Sommeil (1994), Beau Travail (1999), L’intrus (2004), White Material (2009), Volià l’enchaînement (2014), Let the Sunshine In (2017), High Life (2018), Both Sides of the Blade (2022), Stars at Noon (2022). She is also a film professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

New York-based cinematographer Ellen Kuras has been shooting films since 1991. In 1992, she won an award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival for her work on Tom Kalin’s Swoon. Since then, she has shot over 25 films, including Blow (2001), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Away We Go (2009), A Little Chaos (2014), and American Utopia (2020). In 2008, she released her directorial debut, The Betrayal, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2009. In 2013, she was a member of the 63rd Berlin Internation Film Festival jury, and in 2015, she served on the jury of the Belgrade Film Festival.