Saute Ma Ville and Je, Tu, Il, Elle plus Sally Potter's Thriller
Saute Ma Ville
Chantal Akerman's first film prefigures the most progressive aspects of her later work. Akerman herself plays a young woman who finds a new solution to the problem of housework. The whimsical nature of the story is rendered serious by the quality of the claustrophobic framing and the oblique camera angles.
Directed by Chantal Akerman (1968, 13 mins., Print from Lloyd Cohen)
Je, Tu, Il, Elle
"Je, Tu, Il, Elle deals with the last throes of adolescence, the impossibilities of communication, the difficulties that everyone experiences in fitting the mold that makes adults of us." --Francoise Maupin, Revue du Cinema. Akerman plays a young woman in three separate times and places which follow sequentially for her, forming a process and a journey. At first, she ("je") is alone, writing about her thoughts and feelings, reading them out loud to herself (to us, "tu"); she rearranges her furnished room and finally strips it down to the essentials. In the next section she hitch-hikes with a young truck driver ("il") and listens to his talking, about his life and the routine of his work. Finally she comes into the home of a young woman whom she loves; there is an atmosphere of estrangement but they chose to make love rather than discuss their feelings. Each section of the film has a different color tonality: shades of gray, then black, and then white. The stationary camera and the long single shot sequences create the sense of the passage of real time. Akerman systematically avoids any close shots and the effect is a distancing from what are intense experiences for the main character. "Chantal Akerman is not attached to telling a story, even though one can find in Je, Tu, Il, Elle the sketch of a narrative. But she excels in translating states of being." --Francoise Maupin
Directed by Chantal Akerman. With Chantal Akerman. (l972, 90 mins., 35mm, Print courtesy of Belgian Government)
Acclaimed among the new women's films at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival, Thriller is a feminist mystery film in which the heroine, Mimi, pieces together the facts behind her own death in the opera "La Boheme." Working within a structure based on the suspense genre, the film uses Mimi's story to locate the production of ideology through fiction - particularly that of romantic love and death - and to make connections between that and material production.
Directed by Sally Potter. With Rose English, Tony Gacon, Colette Laffont, Vincent Meehan. (Great Britain, 1979, 33 mins, Print from filmmaker)