…a young lady in her apartment’s kitchen mops the floors, polishes her shoes, dances, cooks, drinks wine, then she duct-tapes the door, opens the gas and blows everything up – humming all along.
Panning shots describe the space of a room as a succession of still lives: a chair, some fruit on a table, a collection of solitary, waiting objects. Sitting on the bed there is the presence of a young woman: the filmmaker herself, eating an apple.
“In the second of her 1972 experiments, Akerman again wanted to draw viewers’ eyes to elements in the frame that they might not otherwise have considered. Similarly focused on architecture and interior spaces, Hotel Mônterey is grander in scope than La chambre.
« Je, tu, il, elle est un film unique, pour moi : il reste extrêmement fort parce qu’il est fait avec sa chair, sa peau, sa vie. Quand on dit que quelqu’un a tout mis dans un film, on peut dire qu’elle a effectivement toujours tout mis dans son cinéma, sans artifice. »
Jeanne Dielman, a lonely young widow, lives with her son Sylvain following an immutable order: while the boy is in school, she cares for their apartment, does chores, and receives clients in the afternoon. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
News from Home consists of long takes of locations in New York City, set to Akerman’s voice-over as she reads letters her mother sent her between 1971 and 1973, when the director lived in the city.
Anna, an accomplished filmmaker makes her way through a series of anonymous European cities to promote her latest movie. She meets strangers and lovers and then visits her mother in Brussels. Throughout, people make personal revelations to her, and Anna listens with little affect.
Two young women go down to the Hôtel des Acacias. The owner is unattached and ready to fall in love with the first woman who comes along.
In the night, a door suddenly opens.
A woman, her shoes in her hand, throws herself into the arms of a man.
A phone rings, a man rushes in, out of breath.
A slow dance crosses the feverish night.
“It begins with voices heard over black - the voice of an actor and a director, trying to find the right intonation for a short enigmatic phrase: ‘A ton âge, un chagrin, c’est vite passé’ - meaning, ‘At your age sorrows soon pass’, or maybe, ‘At your age misery doesn’t last’.
“Je moet alleen doen waar je echt zin in hebt, zei ze me. Als je als toneelregisseur enkel zin hebt om Tsjechows stukken te ensceneren, omdat je dat het mooiste vindt van wat er ooit voor het toneel geschreven is, dan doe je dat toch, zegt ze.
“Aanvankelijk zin om een komedie te maken.
Een komedie over de liefde... en de handel.
Burlesk; teder, waanzinnig.
Vervolgens was één plaats het uitgangspunt van alles.
Een plaats die ik goed ken omdat ik er verscheidene malen als verkoopster heb gewerkt.
The stories of Jewish immigrants in New York City are told with characteristic humor.
Following the demolition of the Berlin Wall, Chantal Akerman captures the reality and mutation of former Soviet territories, shot from summer through to winter in a series of travelling shots or with a static camera.
In Brussels, on a day in April in 1968, Michèle, a 15-year old school girl, decides never to set foot in school again. In the cinema, she meets Paul, a twenty-year old Frenchman who has similarly decided to never again set foot in his army base.
For Sud, Chantal Akerman traveled to the American South after having discovered that a black man named James Byrd Jr. was gruesomely murdered by three white men.
Daniel Kasman: This is not the first film we’ve seen of yours that is about your relationship with your mother. This has been a filmmaking motif for you. Can you say something about its importance, the relationship to your filmmaking practice?