In a script written by Akerman, a man stands in his new apartment in a state of inertia and dislocation. Le Demenagement records the man delivering an extended soliloquy, surrounded by boxes of his possessions. He cannot bring himself to unpack, as he is preoccupied with feelings of indecision and regret. Akerman circumscribes the man’s action within an interior space as she has in earlier films — be it a room, a corridor or inside a hotel—as seen in her films La Chambre, Je, tu, il, elle and Hotel Monterrey. Here the inaction, limited views and extended shots place the viewer into real time with the character. As if staged for theatre, the protagonist in Le Demenagement is performed by Sami Frey whose portrayal invokes a sense of futility akin to Valdimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Like her later Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman (1997), this film was created for ARTE, the French television station, as one of a series of filmmakers’ monologues.
Le Jour Où, Belgium/France, 1997
dir. Chantal Akerman (7 mins., 35mm)
Akerman called Le Jour Où “at its heart, a homage to Godard.” A self-portrait—a poetic portrait of the mind—an indelible film.