Les rendez-vous d’Anna

  • Directed by Chantal Akerman
  • France/Belgium/West Germany, 1978, 127 mins., French

Before pursuing filmmaking, Chantal Akerman set out to be a writer. Like her earlier feature Je tu il elle (1975), Les Rendez-vous d’Anna was originally written as prose, not a screenplay. Longtime collaborator Aurore Clément plays Anna Silver, a filmmaker who Akerman described as “a sort of mutant… perhaps a heroine of the future.” Anna is seemingly rootless and traveling from city to city to promote her work; a nomadism as a form of existential crisis. The film spans several days and three countries composed in trains, train stations, cinemas, car interiors and hotel rooms. Visits to Anna’s parental home in Belgium are fleeting affairs—confessional intimacies between mother and daughter are taken wherever they can. Pick-ups are easy-come-easy-go affairs and commitment is provisional. ‘Anna, where are you?,’ a voice enquires. Anna may not know or much care. “The reflexive, seemingly autobiographical nature of all these components needs no underlining, and this hall-of-mirrors effect can be superficially disorientating. But a true bearing is sustained by the luminous, painterly miracle of wonderful image-making, and the sure sense of a great mind at work, exploring the alienating topographies of contemporary Europe.”—Adam Roberts, A Nos Amours, London.

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

On the Mexico-US border, the twin towns of Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona—far from the population centers of Juarez/El Paso or Tijuana/San Diego—are home to both hopeful, persistent immigrants and resilient, spiteful permanent residents. As with most of Akerman’s documentary work, she brings a keen, searching eye to this most barren of places, in

Sud

The work of James Baldwin and William Faulkner long influenced Chantal Akerman’s work and life, and she had long planned to shoot a film about the American south — and finally, an opportunity came just before the new millennium. But in Jasper, Texas, mid-1998, James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man, was dragged behind a vehicle

Toute une nuit

One summer night in Brussels, sweltering heat stifles the community, which draws people out of their comfort zone and into despair. Akerman explores a series of on-the-brink relationships—break-ups, reconciliations—in the context of this hottest night of the year, where defenses are built, but at the same time, are down. Nearly wordless yet filled with subtle

Almayer’s Folly

With Almayer’s Folly, Akerman tackles the terrible legacy of the European colonial project in Southeast Asia head-on through an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s late-19th-century novel of the same name. Crucially, Akerman makes a handful of changes, transposing Conrad’s Cambodia for Malaysia and Conrad’s 19th Century for the 1950s, the tail end of direct colonial control.