Chantal Akerman was 15 years old when she saw the film Pierrot le Fou by Jean-Luc Godard. According to Akerman, who was born in Belgium in 1950, this was the impulse that motivated her to be a filmmaker. Akerman attended the Film Academy in Brussels for four months, but says that she found no inspiration there whatsoever. At the age of 18 she shot the short film Saute Ma Ville and made her first mark in the annals of film history with an explosive master piece that continues to be shown at film schools and is regarded today as one of the central short films of the 20th century. Read More »
A young girl shuts herself away in her apartment and goes about her business in a strange way, as she wastes the night in her apartment. Read More »
A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades Read More »
In 1993, Chantal Akerman directed Sami Frey (actor who made the Jeanne Dielman’s making off in 74) in this episode of tv mini series Monologues (others episodes were made by Claire Denis, Romain Goupil, Jacques Renard and Claire Simon). He plays a man who just moved to a new building, and thinks about his situation. Why he leaved the older flat. He remembers about a summer a few years ago, the windows wide open. The air streams, the girls laughing next door… Read More »
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. Read More »
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.
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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. Read More »