"What I love about working with Claire is that she lets the actor imbue the character with everything he is at a given moment. She never gives orders; she offers a critique of what she’s seen."
"Her films can be very poetic, but they’re never precious. They can be very funny but never silly or dumb. Somehow they remain observational, always. And the camera, it’s like music that never has extra notes in it that aren’t needed."
Isaach De Bankolé
"I met Claire a long time ago, back in 1987 when she was about to do her first feature Chocolat. When I read Chocolat, I was surprised that it was written by a white girl from France. When I read it, it sounded like someone who really knows how the blood circulates in the African body. She leaves a lot of room for input and improvisation but at the same time, she really knows what she wants… I’ve been very blessed to meet these people and to work with them because they have a special vision, whether it’s Claire Denis or Jim Jarmusch. When they write for the black they don’t write because they’re black they write for the character and that’s the difference between them and many other directors. It’s a pleasure to work for a director who has that vision and who can at the same time have trust in me.”
"I think that she has a great attention to detail and a very particular way of filming and shooting. She tries to capture everything from the décor to the character’s precise body movement… but also gives actors the freedom to interpret their characters. One might even say that in her own way, Claire is a choreographer."
"Despite the violence or the despair of what she’s shooting, the way she shoots it is always with love. Even when Claire gets really dark, there’s so much light in her."
"Claire has a very honed relationship with the images that has evolved over time. She has the faith and the belief that an association of ideas that’s concise and that is based on pure cinematography—the choice of a frame, a focal point, the climate of the light—says something, and the idea that gluing those images together is going to create a sense."
"The way she works is the way she lives. Working with Claire, you have to be really available—you have to let yourself go into her rhythm. She’s very creative. She’s like a painter. She gives me the feeling that she has a vision and you have to be the witness to that vision. You don’t want to ask her too direct questions—’Why do you do this?’ ‘What do you have in mind?’—these things I would never ask her. You just have to trust her and follow her."
"When we made the music for Nénette et Boni, we made it like a band watching a film and then decorating it, giving it texture. A few years later, on the next film we worked on, I said to Claire, ‘I’ve realized I don’t really know how to make music for films,’ and she said, ‘That’s all right, I don’t know how to make films.’ I think that has been the basis of our work together—fundamentally we don’t know what we are doing, but we do know what we hear, what we see and what we feel, and we take it from there. Claire is always looking for a reaction to what she is making—she gives people she works with the freedom to appraise what she is doing.”