Chantal Akerman – Hôtel Monterey (1972)

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. . . Miss Akerman’s ”Hotel Monterey,” a 65-minute silent film that shares the bill with ”News From Home,” was shot in 1972 in the corridors, elevators and on the roof of a seedy lower Manhattan hotel.

The film is even more obsessive than ”News From Home” in its search for beauty amid shabbiness. The porthole windows of elevators and the dim lights at the ends of hallways are viewed as spiritual beacons in an environment glowing with arcane romantic secrets . . .

— N.Y Times Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – La chambre (1972)

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. . . It is always the act of isolation from another space that brings into sharp focus Akerman’s themes and aesthetics. Jacques Polet has pointed out that the 360-degree pan in La Chambre maps out a literal movement of encirclement completed once the pan reverses, as if the camera had demarcated the minimally essential space for the performance . . .

— from essay on Akerman by Ivone Margulies found here. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Cinéma, de notre temps: Chantal Akerman (1996)

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Quote:
Paris, 1995. On the cutting table in a modest office building in central Paris lie Juliette Binoche and William Hurt in Un Divan à New York. Chantal Akerman Par Chantal Akerman is also almost finished. It’s a self-portrait for the series Cinéma de Notre Temps by order of La sept Arte and producer Thierry Garrel. Because who can tell more about Chantal Akerman than Chantal Akerman herself. Through the open windows we can hear shreds of sounds from other cutting tables gathering in the inner courtyard. Fall is still warm. An interview on too much and not enough cinema. Continue reading

? – Brothers and Sisters in Love – (2008)

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Synopsis
Most societies consider incest to be the ultimate taboo. Yet, a strange phenomenon called ‘Genetic Sexual Attraction’ has been known to affect adults who meet long-lost blood relatives for the first time.

This program features several brother/sister couples (along with one mother/son couple) who’ve developed sexual relationships and insist on maintaining them in spite of pressure from society and, sometimes, criminal prosecution. Continue reading

Johan van der Keuken – Amsterdam Global Village + Amsterdam afterbeat (1996)

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From an interview about this film, conducted by Serge Toubiana,

Is Amsterdam Global Village intended to be the portrait of a city? Can one in fact portray a city?
– I don’t think you can portray anything, but you can build a city through film, using both fictional and direct cinema techniques, which I purposely blend. The constructivist concept is very important to me. At the end of the film, there is a dedication to my friend, the writer Bert Schierbeek, who died this year. Bert Schierbeek wrote: “I always felt that life was made up of 777 stories going on at the same time.” So I thought we could do 777 four-hour films about Amsterdam, even if it’s a small city. But you have to make choices, take risks. When you film you have to disregard certain realities in order to recreate something physical on the screen. In that way, it’s possible to portray a city. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Une ville à Chandigarh aka A City at Chandigarh (1966)

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When, in 1947, a portion of Punjab province was assigned to the newly created
Pakistani State, Albert Mayer began planning a new capital for the portion which
remained in the possession of India. Le Corbusier had been responsible since the
1950s for general planning and, more particularly, for large-scale buildings typical
of the governmental sector. A year after the death of Le Corbusier, Alain Tanner
began shooting his film in a city still partially under construction, or even, in certain
places, at the planning stage. The inhabitants of the metropolis, however, already
numbered some 120,000. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – British Sounds (1970)

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Jean-Luc Godard made the hour-long 1969 experimental documentary British Sounds also known as See You at Mao for London Weekend TV in 1969. In the opening scene, a ten minute long tracking shot along a Ford factory floor, a narrator reads from The Communist Manifesto. This is followed by a woman wandering around her house naked while a narrator reads a feminist-tinged text, a news commentator reading a pro-capitalist rant that is repeatedly and abruptly cut off to show workers that contradict his statements, and a group of young activists preparing protest banners while transposing communist propaganda to Beatles songs (“You say Nixon/I say Mao” to “Hello Goodbye”). It closes with a fist repeatedly punching through a British flag. It’s a bold and assaultive socialist screed made during the director’s most divisive political period and was banned from television. Of note are the director’s experiments juxtaposing image, text, and sound. ~ Michael Buening, All Movie Guide Continue reading