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 »
Dr. Henry Harriston is a successful psychoanalyst in New York City. When he is near a nervous breakdown, he arranges to change his flat with Beatrice Saulnier from France for a while. Both ... 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 »
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
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 »
Having recently discovered French actress Sylvie Testud when I saw The Chateau, I was interested in this film because she's in it. I haven't read the story that the film is supposedly based on so I had nothing to compare it to when I saw it and therefore I went in without any preconceived notions. And with a film like this, a film that doesn't operate on any conventional filmmaking level, that is a very good thing.
This movie doesn't try to tell you what to think or feel about its characters; there is none of the contrivances so common in American movies, none of the manipulation. It just simply presents them and follows them and allows them to do what they do without the camera cutting away too soon for fear that the audience will get bored when there's not a lot "going on" in a scene - in fact some of the best scenes in the film have hardly any movement at all. And this is not done in a self-conscious, 'arty' let's-create-mood sort of way, which makes watching it - or rather experiencing it - even more hypnotic.
This is a film that must be experienced more than once, I would say: you're not really sure what's transpired OR how you feel about what you've witnessed upon a first viewing because it doesn't hit all the 'buttons' that a commercial film is compelled to hit. And Testud is brilliant, managing to imply complexity without demonstrating it (if that makes sense) - she's beyond subtle, beyond sublime.
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