Man with a Suitcase
(L’homme à la valise)
BAMPFA Student Committee Pick!
Chantal Akerman, Jeffrey Kime,
A woman (played by Akerman) returns to her apartment after loaning it to friends, only to find that an affable friend-of-the-friends has installed himself there. Gradually, she retreats to a corner of the flat, using the exaggerated sounds emanating from the “invisible enemy” as warning signals of his whereabouts. “The commonplace that hell is other people finds a new twist in Akerman’s use of [the] soundtrack” (Variety). In a brilliantly funny comedy of manners, Akerman excels at embodying the passive resistance of a most reluctant host.
Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman
Chantal Akerman, France, 1996
Asked to create a portrait of a film artist for the French TV series Cinema of Our Time, Akerman jokingly suggested herself as the subject, then warmed to the idea. Here, Akerman treats clips from her films as rushes for a whole new film. She grudgingly added the required introduction, which nevertheless is typically funny and intelligent and offers much to bear in mind while watching the compilation that follows. To wit: Chantal was not the first woman in her Jewish family to flout the Second Commandment against visual representation; her maternal grandmother was a painter of “huge paintings,” all lost in the Holocaust. Chantal’s mother told her, “All I remember is that there were women in them. Faces. Faces that could see me.” Let the rushes begin.