Tuesday, October 6, 2015
RIP Train: CHANTAL AKERMAN (1950-2015)
You may or may not have heard of Chantal Akerman. She never worked in "mainstream" cinema, so to speak, or Hollywood for sure. She was a French filmmaker who made radical, even experimental pieces of cinema in large part about the female experience - and by that I mean revolving around ritual. She grew up, from what I've read, in a relatively strict Jewish religious household, and ritual was paramount.
So a film like Jeanne Dielman, starring Delphine Seyrig - probably her crowning achievement, a 3 1/2 hour film that she made when she was 25 years old - is all the more precious because it chronicles, in painstaking detail, what it means for a grown woman to have to *do* things in the home (both domestic and sexual in nature.
Considering how few and precious female directors are in this industry, let alone masters, this one hurts (I should note I hadn't seen a new film from her in a while, but she never stopped working even as she became obscurer from time to time).
Here is my review of Jeanne Dielman (it's a longer title by the way, but you can click the link to see what it is):
And some other films:
Histories d'Amerique (1988) (a very rare film, got to watch it on a college documentary class)
Je, tu, il, ell (1976) (notable for Akerman acting in the film)