Monday, October 12, 2015

It's frustrating also reading articles about Akerman. Her friends are too protective and fans are worshipful. Her mother's last words in Akerman's last film, recorded by the camera when Akerman was out of the room, were that her daughter talks to her all the time but never tells her anything important about what's going on in her life. Akerman over the years had said the same thing about her mother; she described the holocaust as an unspoken presence in her childhood. The moments of banter in No Home Movie are a sham. The film records missed connections, none more extreme than in the penultimate scene, when Akerman is set to leave. By including the footage and using it to imply it's the last time she saw her mother alive, Akerman is damning herself for her callousness.

The overdetermined formalism of what was called "structural" filmmaking, when it wasn't simply the product of pedantry, was connected with trauma. Discussions of Paul Sharits as an artist of some sort of Greenbergian abstraction are absurd.


The connection is to Warhol and Robert Wilson


N+1 publishes a mash note to "Chantal" written by an expert in "brand semiotics" at Truthco. Scott Hamrah, who "has worked in almost every brand category there is, from automotive and beauty to liquor and finance, from hotel chains and media to candy and pharmaceuticals," says Akerman "ended up a Simone Weil of the cinema..." He'd probably say the same thing about Aaron Swartz and tech.

The tragedy of Akerman is the tragedy of self-absorption and self-punishing narcissism. That was the material she worked with; others just wallow in it. It's the difference between wanting to yell at the screen and wanting to walk out of the theater. It's disgusting how much this country is still founded on optimism

Akerman's long takes are not the product of intellectual, cerebral, distance; they originate in the passive observation by children of the world of adults. Seyrig and Mangolte added an aggression both behind and in front of the camera that Akerman was incapable of. But having seen only Je, Tu, il, Elle my first experience of what I sensed as looking through the female gaze was I Can't Sleep, by Claire Denis, Agnes Godard, and Nelly Quettier.

I'm not done with any of this.

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