Claire Denis at "Stars at Noon" premiere

Claire Denis calls ‘Protégé’ label sexist: ‘It’s an insult’

Claire Denis calls herself no one’s protégé.

The director of “Both Sides of the Blade” closed a question asked by The Guardian asking what it was like to be a “protégé” of Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders and Jacques Rivette, among Denis’ previous collaborators.

“Protected! It’s offensive,” Denis replied. “What a view of women you have. It’s so disgusting to say things like that. Would you use that word for a man?

He continued, “I was working as an assistant director. I made my way and was paying my rent. They chose me because I was good at my job.”

Denis made his directorial debut with the 1988 film “Chocolat”. Despite her decades in the film industry, she the French author admitted that she is still afraid of cinema “always.”

“Everything about cinema is scary,” Denis said. “First I’m afraid of making a bad film, of not being faithful to the actors, to the story, to the image of the world. But on a set it’s too late. There is no time for fear.”

Denis added of the ramifications of #MeToo on the sets: “In film, now there may be more respect for this and that, but it’s not a reality. I hope that, perhaps little by little, it will become so. But when you see that any state in the US has stopped abortion, it’s weird. It’s scary.

The “Stars at Noon” director added that actress and regular collaborator Juliette Binoche “explained” the movement to her. “I understood that for those young actresses it was a problem in their life,” Denis said. “One person was brave enough to lift it, then another, and suddenly the door opened.”

Denis previously admitted in March 2022 that he believed ‘Both Sides of the Blade’ would be his last film amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thought maybe ‘The Stars at Noon’ would never exist, so maybe this is my last film,” Denis said in conversation with Jarmusch. “I don’t know, it was a weird thing.”