Belgium / France / West Germany, 1978 (MIFF 1979)
Director: Chantal Akerman
In 1975, Chantal Akerman made Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, and since then, she has been in the forefront of a developing feminist cinema. Les rendez-vous d'Anna continues her investigation of both narrative and avant-garde cinematic forms.
Anna, a filmmaker, travels around Europe showing a film she has made. We see nothing of Anna's film — Akerman only tells of her wanderings, her chance encounters, conversations, reflections.
In Germany, she meets Heinnch, a teacher, who likes her film, and they spend a night together. He tells her the story of his life: his father died at Stalingrad in the war; his marriage broke up when his wife left him for a Turkish worker, and now, he and his small daughter live with his mother.
At a railway station, Anna runs into a woman who is the mother of a man she once almost married. The woman asks her again to marry her son, and when she refuses, accuses her of not caring about marriage or family. The woman also talks about her memories — of the Jews in war time, of Poland and Belgium, of the changing role of women. Anna's mother calls her back to Brussels, to watch over her father's sick-bed. Her mother, too, has a story to tell — this brings the two women closer together.
A conversation with a man on a train reiterates the film's theme of restlessness and displacement. The man tells her about his search for a country in which he can settle down. Returning to Paris, Anna picks up an old relationship with a man, but finds him disappointing and leaves him.
Arriving home, Anna listens to telephone messages recorded on her automatic answering machine. She makes plans to continue travelling with her film.