Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Art > Artist > Social Issues > Murder > Genocide > Racism > Animal Abuse > Chantal Akerman: Four Films (1993 - 2010/5-Disc Set)/Chantal Ackerman: From Here (2010)/I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema Of Chantal Akerman (2015)/No Home Movie (2015/all Icarus DVD releases)/A Dog

Chantal Akerman: Four Films (1993 - 2010/5-Disc Set)/Chantal Ackerman: From Here (2010)/I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema Of Chantal Akerman (2015)/No Home Movie (2015/all Icarus DVD releases)/A Dog Named Gucci (2015/MVD Visual DVD)

Picture: C/C+/C+/C/C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Main Programs: B/C+/C+/C+/B

Next up, we look at the loss of a documentary filmmaker who passed in 2015, but a woman who left behind a unique style and sense of presentation, then end with a compelling new documentary.

Chantal Akerman is a critic's favorite for her socially aware documentaries and character studies, whether it is of people or of their locations, treating both with equal attention in interesting ways. We only previously covered her 1983 film One Day Pina Asked... at this link....


Now for a wider look at her work.

Chantal Akerman: Four Films (1993 - 2010) has the four films that show her socially aware work and observations best. From The East (1993) has her going to deep Russia in the deep winter and recording all she can, which can be depressing, yet very revealing and I give her credit for putting herself through it all to get the feature she gets here. South (1999) looks at the horrific murder of James Byrd, Jr. (after a severe beating by three white supremacist, was tied to a truck and dragged to death, his body parts being ripped off of him!) in a case the media did not cover enough, correctly or thoroughly enough for me. She easily sets the record straight in an incident so ugly, since similar such incidents keep happening. From The Other Side takes us to San Diego back in 2002 about the immigration issue still unresolved and worse as we post this 14 years later, including how nearby Arizona figures into it all. Again, as relevant as ever. Then the set is rounded out with her 2006 feature Down There, where she goes to Tel Aviv for a month to deal with her family, Judaism and much more. That makes it a strong set and the place to start with if you want to see what is among her best works.

Included in that box set, as well as sold separately, Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Luiz Ferreira's documentary Chantal Ackerman: From Here (2010) is meant to echo and be a sort of sequel to Down There in this too-short 62-minutes look at the Belgian filmmaker about her career and work. You could watch it first, but actually seeing some of her work would help. Still, this is well done for what we get, but the makers could not arrive at more questions?

As if to agree with me, Marianne Lambert's I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema Of Chantal Akerman (2015) last a full 5 minutes longer and continues the conversation about her work, the Avant Garde, having a voice, independent filmmaking and does not have as much overlap as you might think. That would make a good double feature with From Here if you really land up liking Akerman's work.

Akerman gets the last word here in her own final work, No Home Movie (2015) where we get an often silent 115 minutes of the director with her own mother, who was in many of her works. Her mom also has much to say and show, so it makes for an interesting contrast to see them both together, how they affect each other and it is very personal. Adding to this is that her mother survived The Holocaust. An interesting conclusion to a long career.

Finally, we have Gorman Bechard's A Dog Named Gucci (2015) starts with the horrific story of how an innocent, defenseless 10-year-old dog was set on fire by a bunch of [vulgar expletives deleted] with lighter fluid. One hopes that the people who did this [more expletives deleted], but in this case, a college professor named Doug Jones took the dog in, helped him, saved him and made him his pet and family member. A great story, it is fortunately not the only one we get here showing how great people can be when other people are a bunch of total [yet more angry expletives deleted].

Thus, the never-long-enough 84 minutes is very effective in making its points about how bad abuse can get, how insanely underreported it is and what an ugly reflection it is for us as a society as a whole. This is well-edited, thought out and laid-out, making it a great pro-animal piece everyone should see once. You can find out more at www.adognamedgucci.com

The Ackerman DVDs can range from 1.33 X 1 to anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations, all on video for the most part with some video flaws that include a bit of video noise, video banding, staircasing, softness, cross color and other minor flaws, but they are not too bad and also turn up on the video-shot Gucci release to a lesser extent, presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentation. All DVDs have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is not bad, but we sometimes get location audio limits. Otherwise, it is as we expected.

Extras in all Chantal Icarus releases include illustrated booklets on their respective films including informative text and extensive essays by scholars and fans of her work, while the Films set has From Here as a bonus disc, but we won't include that as an extra, Belong adds 19 minutes of should have been in the main program, leaving Gucci adding a memorabilia section, what you can do to help abused animals of all kinds, a Sidewalk Film Festival Q&A and candid conversation with Director Bechard.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com