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News from Home (1977)

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 »

Director:

Chantal Akerman

Writer:

Chantal Akerman
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Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver ... See full summary »

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Comedy
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Director: Chantal Akerman
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An adaptation of Proust's "La Prisoniere" (book five of "Remembrance of Things Past"). Set in Paris, France, it is a serious tale of a tragic and dysfunctional love.

Director: Chantal Akerman
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Cast

Credited cast:
Chantal Akerman ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

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. The City comes more and more to the front while the words of the mother, read by Akerman herself, gradually fade away. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

World Artists

Country:

France | Belgium | West Germany

Language:

French

Release Date:

8 June 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Briefe von zu Haus See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)
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User Reviews

Fleeting world
24 March 2016 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

This is about the fleeting world out there, the world that comes and goes and fills the senses with all ten directions.

On one hand is the massive city, New York before the makeover in all its brownstone squalor and sleepy routine. The whole film is a series of languid pans of the camera, they capture people waiting in subway stations, a black woman sitting outside on a chair, kids playing in a fire hydrant, street views and Bronx projects, coming and going. If like me, you're drawn to films that wander, you'll be exhilarated to see this.

On the other we have letters that Akerman's mother sent to her while she was in New York as a young girl, she reads these to us in quiet voice-over. She has such a soothing, calm voice. A mother who worries like all mothers do, who wants to know how she's doing, complains that she never writes back, tells about her health and how the store is doing and who got married to whom and that the heat is making her listless.

It's a quietly captivating thing, all in the contrast of exchange between a city that is cold and nameless, vast, and a glad voice from a faraway home that whispers news, love and worries. At one point the engine noise of cars in a four-lane boulevard drowns out a letter being read.

It swims from loneliness to familiarity, because it's all a part of it. And I'm reminded again of how I love seeing America through European eyes. I rank it up there with Varda's Documenteur (it's LA there) as views I'll carry with me, another Belgian, another spirit that wanders freely.

It ends with a long unbroken shot of Manhattan from a ferry vanishing in the distance with seagulls flying overhead. Forget about 'experimental' and 'minimalism', the shots being geometric or not; that's just the brush. A summer was lived.


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