Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everyday
Through films that alternate between containment, order, and symmetry on the one hand, and obsession, explosiveness, and a lack of control on the other, Chantal Akerman has gained a reputation as one of the most significant filmmakers working today. Her 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is widely regarded as the most important feminist film of that decade. In Nothing Happens, Ivone Margulies presents the first comprehensive study of this influential avant-garde Belgian filmmaker.
Margulies grounds her critical analysis in detailed discussions of Akerman's work--from Saute ma ville, a 13-minute black-and-white film made in 1968, through Jeanne Dielman and Je tu il elle to the present. Focusing on the real-time representation of a woman's everyday experience in Jeanne Dielman, Margulies brings the history of social and progressive realism and the filmmaker's work into perspective. Pursuing two different but related lines of inquiry, she investigates an interest in the everyday that stretches from postwar neorealist cinema to the feminist rewriting of women's history in the seventies. She then shows how Akerman's "corporeal cinema" is informed by both American experiments with performance and duration and the layerings present in works by European modernists Bresson, Rohmer, and Dreyer. This analysis revises the tired opposition between realism and modernism in the cinema, defines Akerman's minimal-hyperrealist aesthetics in contrast to Godard's anti-illusionism, and reveals the inadequacies of popular characterizations of Akerman's films as either simply modernist or feminist.
An essential book for students of Chantal Akerman's work, Nothing Happens will also interest international film critics and scholars, filmmakers, art historians, and all readers concerned with feminist film theory.
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The Politics of the Singular
NOTHING HAPPENS Time for the Everyday in Postwar Realist
TOWARD A CORPOREAL CINEMA Theatricality in the70s
THE EQUIVALENCE OF EVENTS Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai
EXPANDING THE I Character in Experimental Feminist
HER AND JEANNE DIELMAN Type as Commerce
FORMS OF ADDRESS Epistolary Performance Monologue and
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1080 Bruxelles 23 Quai abstraction Adams Sitney aesthetics Aker Akerman's Akerman's films alienation analysis banal Barthes Bazin body Bresson camera Chantal Akerman character character's cliche concrete creates critical D'Est Deleuze Delphine Seyrig dialogue diegesis diegetic discourse discussion disjunction dramatic Dreyer duration effect Eighties essentialist everyday example feminism feminist film's filmic filmmaker Filmmaker's Letter focus formal Frame enlargement gestures Godard hyperrealism hyperrealist issue Jean-Luc Godard Jeanne Dielman Jeanne's Lefebvre liminal literal logic long take Meetings with Anna minimal minimal art minimalist mise-en-scene modernist monologues mytheme narrative neorealism notion nuit object performance political present prostitution quotidian radical Rainer's reading realism reality reference referentiality relation repetition represent representation rhythm says sense serial Seyrig shots singularity social space spectator speech strategies structural film suggests temporal texture theatrical thematic tion Toute une nuit Umberto D University Press verbal visual voice-over Warhol's woman women writing York Yvonne Rainer