. . . 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 . . .
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
She’s a beautiful gifted performer, but her work is not the sort that invites popular acclaim. Despite the fact that she is unlikely to become famous, she enjoys her life as a performer who lives just outside the mainstream. Awaiting her backstage one evening is a Spanish painter who has seen her show and wants to make her acquaintance. They walk around Paris getting to know one another, and then the painter returns to Spain. Something about the man has moved Lady M to passion: she flies to meet him in Barcelona and he shows her his beloved Catalonia. This time, however, their relationship is as much about passionate lovemaking as it is about compatibility. So smitten is Lady M with her new man that when she discovers that the painter has a black wife and child, she is only a little bit taken aback and she invites his whole family to join her in Paris. Surprisingly, they do, and the number of people sharing their love and sexual appetites changes from two to three. [imdb] Read More »
This is little known the first version of “Dersu Uzala” from 1961.
The famous Kurosawa’s “Dersu Uzala” is a remake made 15 years later, in 1975.
Dersu Uzala is a 1961 Soviet film, adapted from the books of Vladimir Arsenyev, about his travels in Russian Far East with a native trapper, Dersu Uzala.
The film was produced by Mosnauchfilm, directed by Agasi Babayan with screenwriter Igor Bolgarin and featuring Adolf Shestakov and Kasym Zhakibayev.
The film won the Golden Wolf at the 1961 Bucharest Film Festival. Read More »
There’s something liberating about director Robert Downey’s films, even when by rights they should be put on a leash by their small budgets and settings. Never was the case truer than in POUND, the kind of project that major studios would run a mile from. Long out of circulation, Downey’s film populates a dog pound with different human characters who pace about their cage, uncertain about their future. Some wait in hope for their owners to redeem them, others plot to escape, but most wait to see if they will make it to the end of the day without getting ‘The Needle’. It seems like a cute gimmick to have human characters playing dogs, but Downey has never been one to play by the rules, even if they would provide an interior logic to his story. The dog-human switcheroo isn’t as straightforward as it should be: the first camera angle inside the pound shows us the characters as dogs, the second shows them again as people. But are we still to treat them as ‘dogs’? They have a TV set in their cage; can understand human speech; and are revealed in flashbacks as having human lives outside of the pound. Read More »