Best of the Decade Derby: Video Essay on L'Intrus for the Reverse Shot Claire Denis Symposium

Reverse Shot has just published another of their storied auteur symposiums, where pieces on just about every film by a director are given serious critical appreciation by a talented host of young writers. I've contributed to past symposiums, including one on Hou Hsiao Hsien last year. This time they're casting a much-deserved spotlight on Claire Denis, who I think is doing some of the most amazing work of any director working at the moment. For this symposium I wanted to contribute a piece on L'Intrus, given that it's a solid contender for my own "best of decade" list - only to find out that several other would-be contributors proposed to write on the same film. The honor eventually went to Genevieve Yue, who offers a lengthy, erudite essay that's simply fantastic to read, and does much to elucidate a film that at times is as impenetrable as it is hypnotic.

Meanwhile, my way to get at L'Intrus was to do an appreciation via video essay. What I didn't expect was how difficult this film would be to penetrate and elucidate, especially in a video essay format. This is probably the most challenging time I've had with a video essay and I owe thanks to several people for their encouragement, including Michael Baute, Daniel Kasman, Ryland Walker Knight, and of course Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert of Reverse Shot. The results, well, here they are: