Quick-Thoughts: Claire Denis’s No Fear, No Die (1990)

Cocks and cocks; we aren’t so different after all? Often trained to compete, locked in cages until instructed otherwise, the only thing we’re taught to do, forced to love what’s around when given little in spite of contrasting physiques; it turns from the capitalist buffoonery of viewing, treating, and jeopardizing others as strictly “pets” or “pawns” in a resistant hierarchy complicated by historical and prejudice colonial ties. This is my first venture into Claire Denis’s earlier work, but it’s made clear to me at least with No Fear, No Die that she is obsessed with recreating lived-in environments at the expense of audience marketability or any mere remorse for an appealing pace. It’s recklessly morbid, slow, hopeless, and candid, trapping itself in the illegal cockfight scene to parallel the hitches of masculinity in profitable social squares or just in the nature of our born-given animal instincts.

Verdict: B

Claire Denis Ranked

“No Fear, No Die” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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