Les rendez-vous d'Anna (1978)
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- The Meetings of Anna
- 128 min.
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Unbelievably boring comment to describe the futility of a female artist's wants and emotions.
Chantal Akerman, like Andrei Tarkovsky, loves stillness and silence, the better to lull you into a meditative state where thoughts and impressions come during the movie as opposed to later. Les Rendez-vous d'Anna is no different, and boy, does this plainly autobiographical piece ever bid thoughts and impressions to the surface! We follow a film maker played by Aurora Clément whose life story is very much like Akerman's. She's from Brussels, she travels the world to show her films, she writes home but doesn't disclose everything (her apathy towards the men she encounters foreshadows a kind of coming out that may have been Akerman's), and she's more observer than participant in her own life. Anna says yes to a lot of things, but we don't necessarily apprehend her actual level of interest. It is, at best, fleeting, like her presence in any given city. The film captures what it's like to travel alone (I wonder if we still do, because of the internet, though hotel rooms are to me still soul-draining environments), its tedium, the seeming irrelevance of one's meetings with strangers, the long silences where we're just in our heads, looking passively forward. Formally, when there's movement in the frame, it's either the talking characters walking and the camera being forced to track them, or else background elements that refer to travel - train, cars, hotel staff going about their business - otherwise, Akerman fills the screen with geometry, architecture, and symmetry. Places fixed in space. And so Rendez-vous becomes a series of intersections on a map. Anna intersects with others' lives, but never stops, while the final scene evokes certain forks in the road, but gives no clue as to which might lead home.
Unbelievably boring. Over 2 hours to go nowhere.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #73 in The Criterion Collection's Eclipse Series
This movie ranks #77 in ICM Forum's 500<400
This movie ranks #97 in BBC's The 100 Greatest Films Directed by Women
This movie ranks #238 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #712 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema