Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Je, Tu, Il, Elle (Me, You, Him, Her)


As always when I finish seeing a movie I look for reviews from critics and viewers, so when I started to read about this movie, well not even one comment made click in my head. Sometimes people try to deconstruct everything with complex reasoning, sometimes is simpler, this movie is experimental cinema, and if you want to deconstruct, well, there are three 30 minutes shorts tied by your imagination and not by narrative.

This 1974 Chantal Akerman film is her first feature and was written as a short story that later became a film she directed –and starred- after she spend several years in New York where she was exposed to the American Experimental cinema of many well-known artists/directors. So, the first part of the film tells a story of a woman that self-inflicted a sugar diet while not leaving her place. The second part is about a truck driver that gives her a lift and the third part is about she re-encountering a female ex-lover. The story is told mostly with still camera, long shots and extremely slow pace, that at some moments probably is real time (for example, when truck driver shaves or when Julie and her ex-lover are making love).

Most interesting for me was to discover that since her very first feature film she used the absence of light that I saw in La Captive. In this film is still in experimentation, the beginnings that lead her to so masterfully understand the absence of light –or darkness- and how to contrast it with the total presence of light -like the last scene where everything looks overexposed to light-. She’s so daring in this movie that in the beginning we are exposed to black screens that each last about a minute and nothing is darker than a black screen!

We have to remember that Belgian born Chantal Akerman –lives now in France- has a central place in the history of feminist cinema and avant-garde cinema, and she got her retrospective at the Centre George Pompidou about three years ago; obviously this film was among those in the retrospective.

This film absolutely is not for all audiences, you have to be familiar with Experimental Cinema and enjoy it, or you will be bore to dead as you will feel that nothing goes on. If you are interested in this movie because of the lesbian interest label, then fast forward to the last thirty minutes.

Was very nice to be able to see a Chantal Akerman early work.

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