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also known as Chantal Akerman, de cá

Chantal Akerman, From Here2010

  • 3.1
In CHANTAL AKERMAN, FROM HERE, the renowned Belgian filmmaker sits down for an hour-long conversation about her entire body of work. Throughout, the camera holds steady from outside an open door. The long, unbroken shot, and the frame-within-a-frame pay homage to Akerman's own unmistakable style ("I need a corridor. I need doors. Otherwise, I can't work", she says). But by shooting her in profile, the filmmakers provide a contrast to the signature frontality of her compositions (one of the many subjects covered in the wide-ranging interview), an acknowledgement of this portrait's contingency also underlined by the title. Akerman describes her first experiences with avant-garde film in New York, and, in particular, the lessons she took from the work of Michael Snow. She answers questions about her approach to fiction, documentary, and literary adaptation, covering everything from the early short LA CHAMBRE to the recent feature LÀ-BAS. She explains her preference for small budgets and small crews, and the paramount importance of instinct and improvisation in her directorial process. She is nothing if not forthcoming, candidly assessing her successes and failures, including an aborted attempt at writing at Hollywood screenplay. An image emerges of a filmmaker as assured and idiosyncratic as the work suggests. We see that behind Akerman's cinematic innovations there is not only a remarkable intellectual clarity, but an ethical commitment to making films in which the viewer can "feel the time passing-by in your own body", because, she says, "that is the only thing you have: time."

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"With my films, you feel every second passing through your body. In a way, you are facing yourself." - Chantal Akerman


Member Reviews (3)

The directors phoned this one in. Holding a continuous long shot on Ackerman with the interviewer out-of-frame quickly get tedious, even under the pretext of being an "homage" to the mise en scène typically used in the subject's films.

Ackerman is asked too many loaded, unwieldy questions ("What is cinema?"), then treated to long, awkward silences that force her to grope for an intelligent sounding answer. Had this been filmed with reverse angles between interviewer and interviewee, those disarming pauses could've been edited out—not to mention other minutiae, like Ackerman asking for a drinking glass, or the producer admonishing her not to smoke in a no-smoking facility.

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

a very personal film that feels like talking with Chantal and being with her in the same room

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top reviewer

If you're like me and a fan of the late Chantal Akerman -- this filmed interview offers some interesting moments. Though the moments are few and the filmmakers are unable to ever to get the great filmmaker to relax enough to openly discuss much.