a 'cute' student film about locking yourself in a kitchen and....
It's interesting to find out that the film that made Chantal Akerman want to make films was Pierrot le fou (she talks about it on an interview from the Criterion collection, easy to find online); she was 15, didn't think films were art and only knew vaguely of the 'auteur' theory. Like for many future filmmakers, Godard blew up all the notions for what a film could look like or be, and a movie like Pierrot is one that I'd imagine would strike up a 15 year old's imagination. Thus we have her first film, English title 'Blow Up My Town', and it's both a tribute (at the end) to Pierrot, while also being an unintentional test run for Jeanne Dielman, her 1975 masterpiece.
This is very... student film-y. It sounds shallow to described it that way, but that's what this is. It's following a young woman (Akerman plays the girl) who comes to her apartment, puts away some groceries, cooks noodles, and proceeds to tape her door and windows in so she can... clean, and eat, and then shine her shoes and dance a little. It has no concrete story, and I'm sure Akerman would've been horrified if it had any conventional story to it. It's a portrait of a young woman coming undone, but in a way that is kind of playful - the sound effects emphasize this, with a kind of 'la-la' singing from time to time, this couched between some intentionally awkward special effects - but not much more.
I did enjoy watching it, but for what it was: a glimpse into what a filmmaker wants to explore in about 10 minutes. Its ending is kind of weak - is there no other way than how this girl is going to go out - but I liked how rough and odd it was. It's a nice little short that finds someone at 18 trying out this thing called film equipment on something that can be done easily: take an apartment (I wonder if it was Akerman's own) and just have some wonky, self-indulgent expression into female boredom, alienation and anxiety. 6.5/10
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