All The Lonely People: Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)

Chantal Akerman’s first series of features in the 1970s have one defining aspect in common: all are suffused with loneliness. In her first fiction feature, Je Tu Il Elle (1974), a character wanders between lovers old and new but is always confused as to what she really wants. In Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975), we follow a woman trapped in the monotony of … Continue reading All The Lonely People: Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)

Echoes & Imprints: Towards A Sebaldian Cinema

This is an edited transcript of a talk given at Norwich Castle on Tuesday the 27th of August 2019. Detail has been edited, aspects taken out and points clarified from the original talk. My thanks to Dr. Nick Warr and Philippa Comber in particular for the help and information given both before and after the talk. Introduction Considering the wealth of imagery on the walls … Continue reading Echoes & Imprints: Towards A Sebaldian Cinema

Winter Waves: Marguerite Duras And Trouville

Marguerite Duras lived in the Hôtel des Roches Noires in Trouville on the Normandy coast for over thirty years, spending long periods of time there from 1963 to 1996. She would stare out of the window towards the horizon line or at least was photographed often staring out of the window towards the horizon line. Though undoubtedly here at all different seasons, the Trouville coast … Continue reading Winter Waves: Marguerite Duras And Trouville

Accumulation in Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (1991)

For a while after watching Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker, 1991), I repeatedly heard the sound of ink scratching from a nib onto rough paper and canvas. This action occurs throughout the almost four hour long film, to the point where the process of painting – from its earliest preparatory sketches to a devilish, unseen final canvas – feels almost conveyed in … Continue reading Accumulation in Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (1991)

Horror’s Pleasure of Distance

One of my favourite moments from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is not a typical choice considering the film’s many infamous scenes. Rather than showers, murders and other more memorable images, I particularly love a relatively bland scene later on in the film. It has narrative development in its eerie punch line but has little else on screen in terms of Hitchcock generally: it is perfunctory … Continue reading Horror’s Pleasure of Distance

Snails and Death: Luis Buñuel’s The Diary Of A Chambermaid (1964)

A few years back, I dived into the French produced films of Luis Buñuel. My eyes were bombarded with images and ideas, so condensed and constant as to feel exhausted and exhilarated after each film. Even films that seemed at first more straight forward (That Obscure Object Of Desire, for example) had hidden, unconscious depths that played on my mind for weeks afterwards. Yet one … Continue reading Snails and Death: Luis Buñuel’s The Diary Of A Chambermaid (1964)

Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

I first came across Cindy Sherman’s photographic series, Untitled Film Stills (1977), when looking for photos of film noir titles. The series is designed around fakery, seeking to recreate the feeling of stills from 1950s and 1960s American films but also, in producing the illusion with general key-notes as to the roles of women in these films, comment upon the basic norms prescribed in Hollywood … Continue reading Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

Fernweh and The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)

I have recently finished a draft of a novel which follows a lone woman who is mentally cast adrift by the news of her father’s suicide, her grief manifesting in a strange obsession with the town of Strasbourg where she opts to stay over the winter. In one of its sections, I have addressed the concept of Fernweh. The concept is unusual in that it … Continue reading Fernweh and The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)

An Exhaustive List of Nothing and Everything in Chantal Akerman’s Saute Ma Ville (1968)

It is fifty years ago this September since Chantal Akerman made her first film. It was a short comical fragment about distraction and suicide called Saute Ma Ville (1968). Following Akerman herself running up to her flat, the film then shows her gradually making a mess of the kitchen into which she has locked herself, taping the gaps in the door and windows ready for … Continue reading An Exhaustive List of Nothing and Everything in Chantal Akerman’s Saute Ma Ville (1968)