24 September 2020 | Red-125
Things move very slowly in Chantal Akerman's films
Les rendez-vous d'Anna (1978) was written and directed by Chantal Akerman.
Aurore Clément stars as Anna Silver, a movie director who is traveling through Europe to promote the opening of her latest film.
First, we have to establish the fact that Clément is tall and elegant, and looks like a model. There's no rule that movie directors can't be attractive, so that works in the film.
However, directors tend to make things happen. They are forceful, because they have to be. This is doubly true for women directors. Anna Silver is aloof, distant, and appears to drift from one city to the next without connecting with anyone else.
Second, Chantal Akerman has her own style, and either you accept it or you don't. The trip by train from Cologne to Brussels is 3 1/2 hours long. Anna is bored, and we're bored during the trip. Akerman doesn't care--she shows us the train trip for a long time.
At one point Anna has to leave her hotel in Paris to find an all-night pharmacy. It's not a true emergency--she just needs some medication for a friend. Any other director would show the protagonist leaving the hotel, entering and leaving the pharmacy, and returning to the hotel. Not Akerman. We follow the taxi driving through the dark wet streets of Paris for at least ten minutes. Then Anna gets the medication and goes back to the hotel.
I respect Akerman as a director, and enjoy watching her movies. However, I have to admit that her filmmaking is an acquired taste.
This movie worked well on the small screen. It came as part of Criterion series 19--Chantal Akerman in the Seventies.
The film has a solid IMDb rating of 7.4. I agreed, and rated it 7.
P.S. Look for the Italian actor Lea Masari in a small supporting role as Anna's mother. Masari was only 45 when she played the role. She looked more like Anna's sister.