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 films her mother, an old woman of Polish origin who is short lifetime, in her apartment in Brussels. For two hours, we will see them eating, chatting and sharing memories, ... See full summary »
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 »
Fascinating experimental documentary capturing a unique moment in recent history
This 1993 film by Chantal Akerman resembles some of her best early experimental work from the 1970s, especially 'Hotel Monterey'. This is a truly non-narrative film. Just a series of images from across Russia; often slow, amazingly long tracking shots (probably made from a car, but somehow rock steady), intercut with some long stationary wide angle shots, and shots of people in rooms, clearly staged. There's no dialogue and almost no music, only the incidental sounds of the place being photographed.
The film is clearly a comment on how lost Russia was at that moment in history after communism fell – a lifetime of one ideology was suddenly gone, and nothing new had yet taking it's place. We see it in the faces - every person looks like they're waiting for something. The only problem for me was the length. At 110 minutes both images and ideas, terrific though they were, started to feel repetitive. That said, I'd gladly re-visit and see if a second viewing, knowing now what the style of the film is, would be easier to settle into, and get lost in.
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