Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to ... See full summary »
Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker, lives in New York. Filmed images of the City are accompanied by the texts of Chantal Akerman's loving but manipulative mother back home in Brussels. ... See full summary »
Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to a birthday lunch with his mother and daughter; she goes. Afterward, in Cologne, she meets an old friend, a Polish Jew and war refugee. In Brussels, she spends the night at a hotel with her mother, whom she rarely sees. On the train, a stranger tells his story. Last, it's home to Paris, where her lover Daniel picks her up and they go to a hotel. Throughout, people make personal revelations to her, and Anna listens with little affect. Although it was 30 years ago, the war seems ever present. Written by
"Les Rendez-vous d'Anna" is the only film of Chantal Akerman's which I've seen. It is seemingly a highly personal film about a few days in the life of a female Belgian filmmaker who is traveling around Europe showing her latest work. There are long shots of traveling, whether by train, car or taxi, during which...well,nothing really happens. Kind of like real life. The Europe which is observed all looks the same, pretty much - sterile and dispiriting, rather like the Anna's life. Hardly a tree is seen in the whole movie and Anna actually tells her German lover that she doesn't much care for flowers - nature seems to have been blotted out. She has encounters on her travels with a sensitive, handsome German whom she rejects, a long-time friend of her mother's who wants Anna to settle down and marry her son, a German man who has travelled the world and is now decided on living in France which he declares the land of freedom, her mother in Brussels and her Parisian lover. Through all the encounters, Anna remains detached and pretty much a blank slate. She doesn't really seem to know what she is looking for, but it doesn't seem to be commitment of any kind. Clement is purposefully reserved and detached in the lead role, but the people she meets offer opportunities for several sharp well-turned performances, namely from Magali Noel, Lea Massari and Hans Zischler who is great as the rootless traveler searching for "freedom". "Anna" is an interesting, moody film but definitely not for those looking for action or entertainment. If that is your thing, avoid this film like the plague - but if you are a patient viewer who likes to be immersed in a mood and read between the lines, so to speak, this film may appeal to you.
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