Nuit et jour (Night and Day)

  • Directed by Chantal Akerman
  • Belgium/France/Switzerland, 1991, 92 mins., French

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 alongside the soundtrack’s musical backdrop; sometimes she sings while walking and sometimes we merely hear her off-screen. In a post-modern take on Truffault’s Jules and Jim, Julie begins spending her nights with Joseph, who drives Jack’s taxi during the day. Although she is getting no sleep, Julie resists choosing one of them, as she says she loves both of them, but realizes she may need to take action when they begin sounding too similar. It is symbolic in Akerman’s use of interior space that a physical change to the couple’s apartment leads them to join the larger world. “A small, seriously comic extravaganza.”—Vincent Canby, The New York Times.

Other Films by Chantal Akerman

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.

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