High Life (2018 film)

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High Life
Man with short cropped hair and in an astronaut suit with sun behind his profile.
French teaser poster
Directed by Claire Denis
Produced by
  • Laurence Clerc
  • Oliver Dungey
  • Christoph Friedel
  • Claudia Steffen
  • Olivier Théry-Lapiney
Written by
Music by Stuart A. Staples
Cinematography Agnès Godard
Edited by Guy Lecorne
Distributed by Thunderbird Releasing (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • 9 September 2018 (2018-09-09) (TIFF)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
Budget €8 million[2]

High Life is an upcoming science fiction adventure drama film written directed by Claire Denis. It is Denis' first film in English. Apart from Denis, her long-time collaborator Jean-Pol Fargeau, Geoff Cox, and novelist Nick Laird co-wrote the screenplay for the film. Additionally, Laird's wife Zadie Smith contributed to early drafts of the English version of the screenplay; she is not a credited writer of the project.[3] The film stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth in lead roles. The film focuses on a group of criminals who are tricked into believing they will be freed if they participate in a mission to travel on a spaceship towards a black hole to find an alternate energy source while being sexually experimented on by the scientists on board.[4] French physicist and black hole expert Aurélien Barrau has been part of the project as a scientific expert. Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has designed the spacecraft for the film and it is his first cinematic experience.[2]

The film will have its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 2018.[5]


A group of criminals are sent on an alternative energy finding mission in space. Monte, one of the criminals on board previously had a daughter, Willow, against his will through artificial insemination, but comes to love her as they near the end of their journey.



Claire Denis had the idea of the project in her mind for fifteen years.[6] Talking about it she said that, "I had a screenplay which was naturally in English, because the story takes place in space and, I don't know why, but for me, people speak English – or Russian or Chinese – but definitely not French in space."[7]


Denis thought of Vincent Gallo for the lead role during early stages of the project.[6] She wrote the film keeping Philip Seymour Hoffman in mind and was saddened by his untimely death. Later the project caught the attention of Robert Pattinson and according to Denis, "One day Robert Pattinson contacted the person who was doing the English casting. I was intrigued but I thought he was too young. Every time I went to London to meet some actors, he was there. His desire to work with me has never faltered. And now he is a little less young and it's perfect." Further talking about his casting, she added, "When I saw Twilight, I liked it immediately because he has heartrending charisma. It's strange, though, because it would be difficult to imagine anyone more unlike Philip Seymour Hoffman physically, but Robert is very enigmatic, with a powerful presence. He gives off an aura that immediately makes you want to film him."[7] Pattinson, talking about the film, described his character as an astronaut and said, "...he's a criminal who volunteers for a mission toward a black hole, but he realizes along the way that a doctor on board also wants to do sexual experimentation with humans in space."[8]

In late 2015, Patricia Arquette and Mia Goth joined the cast of the film.[9] In September 2017, Arquette dropped out of the project while the rest of the cast, including Juliette Binoche and rapper Andre 3000, were also announced.[10]


Principal photography for the film began in Cologne, Germany on 18 August 2017.[8][11][12][10] Filming wrap up in late October 2017.[13]


Following it's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film will compete in main competition at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in late September 2018.[14] The film will have it's theatrical release in France on 7 November 2018.[15]


  1. ^ "High Life". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 27, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b Goodfellow, Melanie (8 February 2016). "Wild Bunch to launch porn star Rocco Siffredi doc at EFM". ScreenDaily. Archived from the original on 10 February 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  3. ^ Newman, Nick (8 February 2016). "Claire Denis' Robert Pattinson-Led 'High Life' Will Feature Unwanted Insemination and Black Holes". Filmstage.com. Archived from the original on 9 February 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (8 February 2016). "New Plot Details Emerge For Claire Denis' Sci-Fi 'High Life' With Robert Pattinson". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  5. ^ Vlessing, Etan. "Toronto: Timothee Chalamet Starrer 'Beautiful Boy,' Dan Fogelman's 'Life Itself' Among Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 August 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  6. ^ a b "Claire Denis Talks High Life & Robert Pattinson "his unflinching desire and our mutual recognition have done their work"". Robertpattinsonau.com. 14 May 2017. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Jagernauth, Kevin (25 May 2016). "Claire Denis on How Philip Seymour Hoffman Inspired 'High Life' And The "Heartrending Charisma" of Robert Pattinson". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Raup, Jordan (21 June 2017). "Claire Denis Will Begin Production on Her Sci-Fi Drama 'High Life' Next Month". Filmstage.com. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  9. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (26 October 2015). "Patricia Arquette and Mia Goth Join Robert Pattinson in Claire Denis' Sci-Fi 'High Life,' Plot Details Revealed". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Lang, Brent (8 September 2015). "Toronto: Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin Join Claire Denis' 'High Life' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  11. ^ Foreman, Katya (3 July 2017). "Front Row at Christian Dior Couture Fall 2017". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  12. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (18 August 2017). "'Bright Sunshine In' Trailer: Juliette Binoche Stars In Claire Denis' New Film". Playlist.net. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  13. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (25 October 2017). "Wild Bunch brings new Natalie Portman and Ari Folman animation projects to AFM (exclusive)". Screen International. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  14. ^ Hopewell, John. "San Sebastian: Claire Denis, Kim Jee-woon, Naomi Kawase Make Competition". Variety. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  15. ^ "High Life French release date". Twitter. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 

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