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
C/C+/C+/C/C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Main Programs:
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.
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
for a wider look at her work.
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
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?
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.
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.
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].
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
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.
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
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
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.