IDA presents: Claire Simon’s OUR BODY (2023, L.A. premiere!) + master class
The renowned French filmmaker comes to LA for a special two-night tribute: a masterclass to discuss her career in documentary and narrative film, followed by a sneak preview of her acclaimed new film.
Aug 02, 2023, 7:00 PM
2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
Presented with the International Documentary Association (IDA)
A prolific and precise maker of documentary and fiction films, we are honored to bring French director Claire Simon to Los Angeles for a special two-night tribute: a masterclass on August 1st to discuss her career, followed by the L.A. premiere on August 2nd of her universally acclaimed new film Our Body. A single ticket provides entry to both events.
Masterclass: Claire Simon in conversation
Tuesday, August 1st
One of France's premier nonfiction filmmakers, Claire Simon’s work as a writer, director, and cinematographer is rooted in the “direct cinema” teachings of the Ateliers Varan, a documentary training program founded by Jean Rouch, and her new film—which premiered in the Berlinale’s Forum section—unfolds with the same chat-heavy, observational approach of her previous documentaries, including The Competition (2016), a Frederick Wiseman-like study of the admissions process to France’s top film school, La Fémis; and Premières solitudes (2018), which is made up almost entirely of conversations between groups of teenagers. Her previous film, I Want to Talk About Duras (2021), which blends fiction and documentary, explores the complex romantic relationship between epochal experimental novelist and filmmaker Marguerite Duras and her much younger, homosexual partner, Yann Andréa. With her accomplished new film, Our Body, Simon immerses us in the day-to-day drama in a French hospital, specifically the departments dedicated to women’s health, with typically compassionate and insightful results.
Our Body (Notre corps)
directed by Claire Simon
2023, 168m, France, DCP
Wednesday, August 2
L.A. premiere, followed by a Q&A with Claire Simon
Veteran documentarian Claire Simon (The Competition) immersed herself in the daily goings-on of a public hospital in Paris’s 20th arrondissement to produce this astonishing work of observational cinema. Focusing on women of varied backgrounds and in every stage of life, Our Body traces the life cycles of the female body and its myriad encounters with the medical system. From cancer screenings and fertility appointments to a teenage girl grappling with an unwanted pregnancy or a trans woman considering the beginnings of menopause, Simon’s panoramic portrait is by turns moving, nuanced, and rousing. With concerted intimacy that takes on a personal dimension for the filmmaker, Simon reminds us that, in the four walls of a doctor’s office, the personal is political. -MoMA
Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival (Forum), 2023
A Cinema Guild release. Special thanks to Abby Sun (IDA) and Tom Sveen (Cinema Guild).
“A clear favorite of most attendees [at the Berlinale], flooring audiences with its three-hour immersion in the workings of a public gynecological clinic in Paris… The film is a series of doctor-patient encounters, filmed up close yet without intrusion, striving to make visible the intangibles of the physical body and gendered healthcare: how hard pain can be to articulate and therefore to acknowledge; how the language of medicine can both widen and bridge the chasm between the body and the self.” -Devika Girish, Film Comment
“Luxuriant in length but never less than compelling, [Simon] immerses us in the day-to-day drama in a French hospital, specifically the departments dedicated to women’s health, with typically compassionate and insightful results.” -Jessica Kiang, Variety
“Extraordinarily clear-eyed and heartbreaking.” -Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook
“One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in years… Simon presents one sustained medical encounter after another, most often in the form of engrossing dialogues between patient and healthcare worker…. Her film’s unclouded focus on the common, often difficult, sometimes marvelous fact of the female body itself, and the varying experiences of individuals of whatever gender who must live with this body, is one of its great strengths.” -Edo Choi, Reverse Shot
“Feels utopian in its depiction of medical care for women & trans men.” -Joshua Minsoo Kim, Tone Glow