JE, TU, IL, ELLE
JE, TU, IL, ELLE
, 85min, OmdU
The titular grammaticism of Chantal Akerman's first feature film refers to the structure, with three roughly 30-minute blocks progressing through modern-day Brussels. Je is 24-year-old Akerman trying to write a letter in a bare room, musing sparsely on the soundtrack, wolfing down spoonful after spoonful of sugar right out of a bag, and lounging naked in front of a glass door. Il is handsomely scruffy truck driver Niels Arestrup, with whom she hitches a ride, shares a pit-stop beer, gives a below-the-frame handjob to, and listens to his monologue about his wife, kids, and on-the-road screws. Elle is the estranged lover (Claire Wauthion) Akerman suddenly drops by on; sandwiches and explicit girl-on-girl action soon follow, before she silently packs up in the morning and marches out. The audience, of course, is the Tu, watching from the other side of the screen yet included into it by the auteur's Warholian inclusive use of the viewer's own perceptions into shaping what transpires in front of the cameras. Warhol's shadow is also in the static, real-time fascination with eating a meal or shaving a beard, yet the film is fully Akerman's. Her staples -- the deadpan severity of the images, the use of off-screen space and sound (footsteps, traffic, some American gangster thriller playing on TV), the longing for some kind of anchor in a pititlessly transient world -- are already in place, but the awkwardness makes them all the more affecting. The picture is about the auteur behind the lenses as much as the vulnerable woman exposing herself before them (and what is Akerman moving the furniture around her room if not the director rearranging elements of the mise-en-scène before our very eyes?), yet her limpidity scrubs the film off narcissism -- what remains is the spectacle of a neophyte artist trying things out. In black and white. (Fernando F. Croce)
Will be screened together with <filmlink id=\"2550\">Les Maines négatives</filmlink>.