Chantal Akerman – Les Années 80 AKA The Eighties (1983)

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IMDB:
Another Masterpiece by Chantal Akerman, 18 November 2009
10/10
Author: kubrick2899 from Concord, North Carolina

THE EIGHTIES marks the turning point in Chantal Akerman’s career. It stands as the end of her more experimental films of previous years and as the beginning of her more mainstream efforts of later years. The bulk of the film consists of auditions and rehearsals for a musical. In the final act, we get to see some segments of that musical. It’s a wholly original and brilliant motion picture experience. Like most of Akerman’s films, though, it’s not for everyone. Her films are experiences for those who aren’t into mainstream cinema. The songs in the film are catchy and unforgettable, and it’s a special treat to see Akerman herself pop in a few times and give the performers some direction. The only downside of this film is that it’s only available on an old VHS. The Criterion Collection has gotten a hold on her earlier films; maybe some day they’ll get a hold of this one, as well. Another interesting aspect to this film is that it serves as a prelude to her next feature film, GOLDEN EIGHTIES or WINDOW SHOPPING. Continue reading

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

Lech Majewski – The Mill and the Cross (2011)

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Quote:
Here is a film before which words fall silent. “The Mill & the Cross” contains little dialogue, and that simple enough. It enters into the world of a painting, and the man who painted it. If you see no more than the opening shots, you will never forget them. It opens on a famous painting, and within the painting, a few figures move and walk. We will meet some of those people in more detail.

The painting is “The Way to Calvary” (1564), by the Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder. We might easily miss the figure of Christ among the 500 in the vast landscape. Others are going about their everyday lives. That’s a reminder of Bruegel’s famous painting “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus,” about which Auden wrote of a passing ship “that must have seen something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.” Extraordinary events take place surrounded by ordinary ones. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Toute une nuit AKA A whole night (1982)

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Toute une nuit presents a series of brief, disconnected, near silent vignettes that capture the inherently intimate episodes that transpire throughout the course of human relationships. A woman (Aurore Clement) deliberates on placing a telephone call to an absent lover before deciding to hail a taxicab to his apartment. A man and a woman sitting at adjacent tables of an anonymous bar exchange reluctant, fleeting glances as they wait in vain for their respective lovers to arrive, and eventually succumb to an impulsive, awkward embrace. An unconcerned young woman smokes a cigarette as she sits in a diner with two young men before being confronted to choose between them. A hurried man misses an opportunity to meet his lover outside her home. A middle-aged couple awaken to the noise of an off-the-air television set and decide to go out for the evening. A woman hurriedly packs her belongings into a suitcase and sneaks out of the apartment only to return home at dawn to her oblivious, sleeping husband. Lovers consummate their relationship or part to their separate ways at entrances and stairwells of impersonal apartment buildings. Continue reading

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

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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