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# 40

The Chantal Akerman complete retrospective continues...

Akerman 16:

D'est (1993)

(aka From the East)

Thursday 22nd January 2015, 7pm
ICA cinema

box office

Chantal Akerman gazed upon a city and its people once before, in News From Home, her superb New York film of 1976. If those city's streets and spaces seemed bleak, she had at least the comfort of her mother's presence, embodied in her many letters to her daughter. In D‘est, there are no letters from home, no murmur of a mother's voice.

D’Est is a wordless winter travelogue. Akerman is travelling in the countries of the eastern block, behind the iron curtain, just a that system is about to fall. She travels through East Germany, Poland and the Baltic states, across Russia towards Moscow and its cavernous terminal stations.

The film begins with a series of late summer images, at the beach, or lazily in the park. Winter threatens. Snow will fall. Long lines of anonymous people, suggestive of resignation and an unfathomable fortitude. Akerman’s camera tracks these lines, catching the stamp of frozen feet, the hunch of shoulders bearing the cold.

Domestic life is a wordless one though sentimental songs may be playing on a gramophone, company of a sort. Supper is a slice of sausage, taken with bread and salt.

Even the grand terminal stations of the capital serve only to lend the waiting crowds a new kind of insignificance. Humanity is waiting, must wait, can only wait. Crowds in stations and other public spaces form queues, waiting for we not what.

Bleak, for sure, but beautiful image-making and laying out of materials, the deft and caring work of a great artist. A work of astonishing, magical sublimity and intensity.

Directed by Chantal Akerman, 1993, 110 mins
35mm film.

Portraidunjeunefille

# 42

The Chantal Akerman complete retrospective continues...

Akerman 17: three short works

Thursday 12thFebruary 2015, 7pm
ICA cinema

Tickets tba

Family Business (1984)

Commissioned by Channel 4 for Visions strand, which offered film makers and artists a carte blanche.

Every film maker must raise money for their project. Even the author of Jeanne Dielman is not exempt. Here Chantal takes the camera for a trip to Los Angeles, in search of a rich uncle who may have a cheque book. He may be rich, but will he be found?

Aurore Clément is welcoming, above all eager to get Chantal’s help with a rehearsing for her part in another film. The battle to pronounce “cheated” without the inevitable mispronouncing of a French speaker takes up all their energy. Her American companion, an actress, complains bitterly about the casting process, usually a matter of intimate meetings late at night. Meanwhile word is received, Chantal’s Uncle has gone to New York. Like Alice, Chantal must chase her white rabbit.

Cast: Aurore Clément, Coleen Camp, Chantal Akerman, Marilyn Watelet, lloyd Cohn, Leslie Vandermeulen

In English with some subtitled French.
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 1984, 18 mins

Ecrire Contre l'oubli (1991)
(aka Pour Elisabeth Velásquez, El Salvador)

Commissioned by Amnesty International as apart for a portmanteau project to high light the fate of the murdered, the detained, and the tortured.

Akerman’s contribution is dedicated to an El Salvadorian trade unionist, a mother of three, murdered by the US backed junta. Catherine Deneuve emerges from the calm of a Parisian night to deliver a heartfelt a plea for the significance of Febe Elizabeth’s life, that there be some remembering of her too short life and her orphaned children. Sonia Wider-Atherton’s cello weeps appropriately.

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Sonia Wider-Atherton
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 1991, 4 mins

Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles (1993)
(aka Portrait of a Young Girl from the Late Sixties in Brussels)

To quote Judith Mayne, who exactly captures the delightful manner and audacity of this delicious film:

“Chantal Akerman's 1993 film… is a beautiful and haunting evocation of female adolescence and its discontents desire, loss and the complicated, ambiguous relationship to the transitions between girlhood and womanhood. Central to the are the dynamics of a love that does not exactly dare not speak its name (according to Oscar Wilde's famous definition of homosexuality), but rather does not quite know how to speak its name. Portrait of a Young Girl is in many ways a coming out story, for the love of one girl for another moves the film forward :1nd structures its narrative development. But it will come as no surprise to those familiar with Akerman's work that this is no transparent coming out tale, and that the film resists any of the simple oppositions between inside and outside, past and present, before and after, which are suggested by the very term "coming out".

“Rather, this explores how lesbian desire is both shaped and repressed by the codes and conventions of heterosexual romance. On the surface, the could be described as a somewhat conventional girl-meets-boy tale. But what shapes the girl-meets-boy story is the simultaneous desire, for the girl, to connect to another girl and to tell stories. ln other words, this is a lesbian narrative with a difference; girl still meets boy, but that classical and timeworn plot is the pretext for the connection between two girls”.

Commissioned as part of the series: Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge

Cast: Circé Lethem, Julien Rassam, Joëlle MarlierDir. Chantal Akerman, 1993, 60 mins

The Akerman retrospective is supported by the British Film Institute, Wallonie-Bruxelles International and ICA

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Programme supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, sponsored by the National Lottery.

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links:

A Nos Amours blog (new writing is welcome)

About the A Nos Amours blog

A Nos Amours articles on the web

list of previous screenings

 

A Nos Amours is a collective founded by film-makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts dedicated to programming over-looked, under-exposed or especially potent cinema. A Nos Amours is a moveable feast that goes wherever and whenever opportunities arise. A Nos Amours invites film-makers and others to advocate and present films that they admire or would like to see on a big screen. A Nos Amours  believes in the value of watching film as a shared experience.

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JacquesRanciere

# 41

A Nos Amours is delighted to welcome to London the celebrated French writer and philosopher

Jacques Rancière

Intervals of Cinema I:
Rancière and Bresson in Dialogue
,
Friday 30th January, 2015 - 5.30pm
King’s College London
A screening of Bresson’s Mouchette, followed by a discussion by Rancière of the film

Intervals of Cinema II:
Rancière and Cinephilia in London

Saturday 31st January, 2015 - 1pm
Birkbeck College
Rancière and a panel in discussion about the concept of ‘cinephilia’

read the detail here

 

For further Akerman screenings

see here