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)
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)
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)
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)
One of my favourite scenes in cinema is, in fact, not really a scene at all but a moment; a collection of three shots that has very little to do with the overall narrative but everything to do with the humanity questioned in the film. The film is Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours: Blue (1994) and the moment is when Juliette Binoche, playing a woman in … Continue reading Skin On Stone – Grief in Three Colours: Blue (1994)
On a rock, there sits a man lost in thought. Or perhaps he is not thinking at all and is instead letting the landscape around him fill his thoughts unconsciously. Werner Herzog’s 1976 film, Heart of Glass (Herz aus Glas), has one of the director’s strongest opening set of images as the main character of the film sits in a foggy Bavarian landscape with life … Continue reading Heart Of Glass (1976) – Optimism in Destruction
“Once I loved a man who was a lot like the desert, and before that I loved the desert.” – Rebecca Solnit (2006). Late last year, I quite accidently combined the viewing of two films that spoke of a theme I have become interested in over the last few months. Viewing Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970) followed by Dennis Hopper’s debut as a director, The … Continue reading Sex and the Landscape in Zabriskie Point (1970) and The Last Movie (1971)
Mike Hodges’ debut feature film, Get Carter (1971), was one of the key shifts in British cinema of the period. With its total lack of hope, an earnest presence of violence and a hugely detailed topography, the film is one of the definitive shifts to the more gritty, unremitting cinema produced in the early Heath years alongside the likes of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange … Continue reading Interview: Mike Hodges on Get Carter (1971).
On watching all of Patrick Keiller’s “Robinson” trilogy of films recently, it struck home how effectively stillness within a visual frame can traverse the geographical plain and recreate a journey that is both political and sociological. This, of course, goes to the heart filmmaking itself, the relationships with cuts especially and its portrayal of time, space and movement within a diegetic reality all being key … Continue reading Stasis In London (1994) – Patrick Keiller.
Because of their tapestry-like nature, the films of Luis Buñuel lend themselves well to a more in-depth form analysis. Within their aesthetic ploys and their narrative spines lies a wealth of readings concerning Buñuel’s attacks and treatises on politics and class especially. His 1972, Oscar-winning film, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie is a perfect example of how a fragmenting narrative falls into dreamscapes that … Continue reading The Nowhere Road in The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972) – Luis Buñuel.