Le Demenagement & Le Jour Où

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.

SCREENS WITH

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.

Other Films by Chantal Akerman

Nuit et jour (Night and Day)

Julie and Jack, recently arrived in Paris, are a young couple from the provinces who spend their days making love and their nights apart, while Jack drives a taxi and Julie walks the streets, waiting for him to come home.  Their vague aspirations take a backseat to their constant passion. “Music” resonates throughout—Julie sings wordlessly

From the Other Side

An in-depth, probing, and sensitive look at migration specifically centered around the deserts of Arizona and the Mexican states of Agua Prieta and Sonora, which Akerman approaches with a characteristically nuanced perspective.

Sud

Investigating the brutal hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr., in Jasper, Texas, 1998, Akerman paints a typically meditative and ingeniously powerful portrait of a specifically American brand of racial hatred.

Toute une nuit

A sweltering Brussels night leads a diverse and restless cast of characters (led by longtime Akerman collaborator Aurore Clément) into the city’s streets, alleys, and bars for a series of chance encounters.

Almayer’s Folly

Akerman transports Joseph Conrad’s 1895 debut novel to the de-colonizing 1950s, in which a Dutch trader doggedly seeks elusive treasure and the jungles of Cambodia come alive.