Retro: Chantal Akerman


Chantal Akerman
FRA, B 1999
70 min

<![CDATA[<i>]]>Sud<![CDATA[</i>]]> opens in characteristic Akerman fashion-lengthy, static images of a small church anchored in the lush surrounds of Jasper-succeeded by other images of bucolic Southern repose. The action is negligible, dialogue non-existent and sound muted, investing these opening scenes with an oppressive beauty. As the film unfolds, it becomes apparent that it is a beauty wrought from a landscape defined and defiled by longstanding racial tensions.
Akerman allows a considerable period of time to elapse before introducing a series of interviewees, whose observations on the politics of race and the Byrd murder make clear the filmmaker’s sympathies. We hear from, amongst others, the local sheriff, an investigating police officer, a commentator on the White Supremacist movement and several elders of the black community who recall ‘the bad old days’ of slavery and persecution. Akerman sets up a structural and semantic counterpoint between the dispassionate statements of these ‘talking heads’ and the silent, static and tracking shots of a seemingly innocent rural backwater.

AMIP, Paradise Films, Chemah I.S. Co-Produktion RTBF (Carré Noir), INA, La Sept/arte, DIA Center for the Arts-N.Y., Soros Documentary Fund, YLE, Centre national de la Cinématographie, Procirep, Centre du Cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique
Related Movies