In this excoriating satire of the fashion industry, Polly Maggoo is a 20-year-old Brooklyn-born fashion model in Paris, on the runway at the big shows where magazine editor Ms. Maxwell is ... See full summary »
In a 360° circular panoramic shot the camera slowly pans an entire apartment (or house). When it first passes the bedroom there is nobody there but each time it shows the room again Chantal... See full summary »
A 10-year-old boy feels unwanted when his mother places him in a home for wayward children. He goes to a foster home where a family of workers finds him to be too much for them. When the ... See full summary »
This film, which is basically the longest narrative film ever made, is a 15-1/2 hour episodic exploration of the character of Franz Biberkopf, "hero" of Alfred Döblin's acclaimed novel, as ... See full summary »
An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.
Chantal Akerman followed famous Choreographer Pina Bausch and her company of dancers, The Tanzteater Wuppertal, for five weeks while they were on tour in Germany, Italy and France. Her ... See full summary »
Occasionally very moving, and sometimes very beautiful
The issue of Mexicans trying to cross illegally into the US in search of work and hope is examined with a mix of styles by Akerman, something like her approach in 'Sud'.
Long, wordless images, give us a poetic sense of time and place -- sometimes still, sometimes tracking endlessly (one shot is nearly six minutes).
Intercut with these are affecting interviews with people on both 'sides' (literally and figuratively) of the issue. From those in Mexico who have lost loved ones forever as they wandered in the desert, to the US sheriff who provides a strikingly cogent sum up of the situation, and a powerful blast at current INS policies that have led to many deaths without stopping the problem, even as he also explains the emotional threat these 'intruders' represent to the rural Americans who live near the border.
This doesn't have quite the power of 'Sud', perhaps because the issue is more complex and diffuse, but it's still a powerful call for human caring trumping political concerns, told in a unique,slow, meditative way. It will drive some people crazy with it's pace and refusal to act like a 'normal' documentary, instead of a tone poem. But, for me, Akerman's work rewards patience by leaving you with not just ideas or impotent anger of agreement or disagreement, but complex, haunted feelings that stay with you for days.
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