Skip to content

Directed by Chantal Akerman

Belgium, France, United States 84 mins. In French

This program presents three Chantal Akerman films from 1972 to 1986, including one of her first feature films made in New York which foregrounds her long takes of interior spaces that frame human encounters and memory of their presence or absence. The films also introduce Akerman’s first collaborations with the cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton. Rue Mallet-Stevens (1986) is an enigmatic film in which an ambiguous human drama takes place on an eponymous street where the modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens made a set of cubist houses; inside a woman is playing the cello. In Hôtel Monterey (1972), Akerman’s extended takes and tracking shots move through the empty corridors of the New York residential hotel of the same name, whose inhabitants are predominantly living on the fringe of society, elderly, and living alone. The film portrays a set of lines, colors, and perspectival illusions as the camera moves out from the lobby and ends with a panorama from the rooftop. While Hotel Monterrey creates an architectural study, likewise a psychic space, in Trois strophes sur le nom de Sacher (1989), the camera fixes a still life of an interior space framing a musician whose form is accentuated by the draping lavender fabric beside her. Cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton plays Henri Dutilleux’s Trois Strophes, the ethereal, at times hesitant, but lyrical pieces he composed in tribute to the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher between the years 1972 and 1986. In French with English subtitles.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.