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Directed by Chantal Akerman

France, Belgium 1974 86 mins. In French

Like her spare, haunting portrait of a wandering filmmaker Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978), Akerman originally wrote Je tu il elle as a short story, and her imposition of a set of minimalist constraints creates space for an exploration of utter dissociation. Acting as herself, Akerman compulsively rearranges her few items of furniture, eats only from a bag of sugar, writes and rewrites a letter to a real or potential lover (rearranging the various drafts in a series of piles like a game of solitaire), and takes off her clothes and drapes them over her body. From the start, the film makes it clear that we cannot trust temporal continuity; the first line corresponds to the last action of the film. It is physical but formal. White bodies on white sheets. The film provides neither catharsis nor thesis. “[Chantal Akerman] movies give cinema heft. They have the rigour of a Poussin painting. She looks longer and harder than most directors, and almost seems to stop film’s flicker.”—Mark Cousins.