In the years between Je tu il elle and her fourth feature, Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978), Chantal Akerman had become an art-film sensation, thanks to Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Her ultimate expression of the reassurance and anxiety of routine and her most evocative visual exploration of space and time, Jeanne Dielman tied Akerman’s distinct long-duration camera approach to a challengingly drawn-out narrative of domestic confinement. Made with an entirely female crew and focusing on the stultifying household routines of an isolated woman, it was hailed in Europe and America as possibly the greatest, purest feminist film ever made, even if Akerman insisted that was not her intention. Continue reading Chantal Akerman – Les rendez-vous d’Anna AKA Anna’s Meetings (1978)
Three young women at a hair salon all like the son of the clothing store proprietors across the mall. Although Robby is selfish and shallow, he’s appealing to Lili, the salon’s manager, who’s trendy and also the salon-owner’s moll; to Mado, who’s innocent and sweet; and to Pascale, who’s intelligent but passive and downcast. Robby’s dad tells him to grow up and see beyond the mercurial Lili, so he proposes suddenly to Mado. She’s delighted, but the day before the wedding, Lili returns to give Robby another look. In the background, a Yank who was a soldier in France in World War II returns to Paris and tries to recapture the love of his wartime sweetheart, Robby’s mom.
Continue reading Chantal Akerman – Golden Eighties AKA Window Shopping (1986)
A look at the troubled area of America’s Deep South, primarily focusing on the sadistic murder of James Byrd, an African-American man dragged to his death by three white supremacists. The film contains interviews with local inhabitants who discuss the problems caused by racism in the area both before and after the advent of the Civil Rights movement. Continue reading Chantal Akerman – Sud AKA South (1999 )
“This film is above all about my mother, my mother who is no longer with us. About this woman who arrived in Belgium in 1938 , fleeing Poland, the pogroms and the violence. This woman who is only ever seen inside her apartment. An apartment in Brussels. A film about a world in motion that my mother does not see.” Continue reading Chantal Akerman – No Home Movie [subbing copy] (2015)
“This film is above all about my mother, my mother who is no longer with us. About this woman who arrived in Belgium in 1938 , fleeing Poland, the pogroms and the violence. This woman who is only ever seen inside her apartment. An apartment in Brussels. A film about a world in motion that my mother does not see.” Continue reading Chantal Akerman – No Home Movie (2015)
In one of Akerman’s most penetrating character studies, Anna, an accomplished filmmaker (played by Aurore Clément), makes her way through a series of European cities to promote her latest movie. Via a succession of eerie, exquisitely shot, brief encounters—with men and women, family and strangers—we come to see her emotional and physical detachment from the world. Continue reading Chantal Akerman – Les rendez-vous d’Anna aka Anna’s Meetings (1978)
Loosely based on the fifth volume of Proust’s monolithic À La recherche du temps perdu, La Captive is a dark study of obsessive love from Chantal Akerman, currently one of Belgian’s most highly rated film directors. The feel of the film is more a psychological thriller than a traditional romantic drama, with frequent references to Hitchcock’s Vertigo more than evident.
The most striking feature of the film is its austere cinematography. Most of the film is set at night or within darkened rooms (which no matter how large appear stiflingly claustrophobic), something which constantly emphasises the prisoner-gaoler relationship of the two young lovers. Add to that the restrained (yet effective) performances of the two lead actors and the result is a hauntingly existentialist work, a chilling black poem of a fairytale romance twisted and ultimately obliterated by perverse mental aberrations. Continue reading Chantal Akerman – La Captive [+Extras] (2000)