One dimension of the long take in Chantal Akerman's films is rarely cited for its own sake: that the long take records “real time,” that it inscribes and sublimates the banality of an everyday action by respecting its duration, that it bears witness to a waiting become infinite, one open to various historical dimensions, that it portrays faces and bodies in the fragile persistence of an emotion. All of this is accurate, but is of somewhat secondary importance next to the primary relation the image establishes; whether she is filming people or things, alienating interiors or deserted landscapes, Akerman uses duration to summon the viewer to an aesthetic relation. This article discusses the following Akerman films in light of the filmmaker's use of the long take: Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles (1994), Toute une nuit (1982), Un divan à New York (1996), Nuit et jour (1991), La Captive (2000), News from Home (1977), Là-bas (2006), La folie Almayer (2011), No Home Movie (2015), Je tu il elle (1974), L'Homme à la valise (2004), Le Déménagement (1992), D'Est (1993), and Les rendez-vous d'Anna (1978).
The Long Take, Mastery
Cyril Béghin is a member of the Cahiers du cinéma editorial board. He also writes about cinema and the visual arts for catalogues and collective books. He co-curated the retrospective of the cinema of Chantal Akerman at the Bobigny in 2014 and co-edited its catalogue, Bande (s) à part, Tome 25: Chantal Akerman (Magic Cinema, 2014).
Mark Cohen teaches French, Literature, and Philosophy, most recently in the Hunter College Athena Program (CUNY). His translation of major texts by Montaigne, Descartes, and Pascal, The French Roots of Modern Thought, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
Cyril Béghin, Mark Cohen; The Long Take, Mastery. Film Quarterly 1 September 2016; 70 (1): 48–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.70.1.48
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