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NIGHT AND DAY

France / Belgium, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Chantal Akerman

Considering that she is one of the most con­sistently original filmmakers of our time, ifs difficult to explain the under-currency of Chantal Akerman's work. Put it down to the vagaries of film distribution, and settle back for her latest offering, a bracingly tender and sen­suous account of obsessive passion, the search for romantic fulfilment and the anguished innocence of youth.

It is summer in Paris, and Julie and Jack have abandoned themselves to their all-con­suming love for one another. They live in happy isolation from the outside world, their lives an overlapping ritual of love-making, showers and post-coital discussion. Jack drives taxis at night so that his days can be spent with Julie, but their carefree bliss becomes compli­cated when Jack introduces Julie to his friend Joseph. Joseph drives taxis by day, and before long he and Julie start up a relationship that Julie believes she can control.

Though the film lends itself to comparisons with Truffaut' s Jules et Jim, other influences, like those of Jean Renoir and Eric Rohmer, are stamped throughout. Akerman states that this in part was a result of casting Guiliane Londez in the part of Julie — "Somebody in Renoir's style, not mine. But she convinced me, and with her, I receive Renoir warmly, in a story that is far from being one of his kind."

Night and Day also marks Akerman's return to the narrative formalism of her earlier works, such as Toule tine nuit (Alt Night Long) and Jeanne Dielman. With its breathtaking simplicity and sultry ambience, here is a film to relieve the winter blues, and to rekindle the faith of even the most jaded cinephile.

• Paul Kalina

See also...

GOLDEN EIGHTIES (PG)

Belgium, France, 1986
“Like Jacques Demy on speed.” - Time Out ... Chantal Akerman's candy-coloured musical is set entirely in a Parisian shopping mall, in an unashamed celebration of 80s French pop, young love and fr… More »

PIERROT LE FOU (M)

France, 1965
“I saw Pierrot le fou by chance… I decided to make movies the same night.” - filmmaker Chantal Akerman. ... Marking a transition between Jean-Luc Godard's earlier works and his later more … More »

THE MEETINGS OF ANNA

Belgium/France/West Germany, 1978
In 1975, Chantal Akerman made Jeanne Dielrnan, 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 Chantal Akerm… More »

ALL ONE NIGHT

France, 1982
lmages of night and images of love are ... interwoven with each other, couples ... meet and separate, fragments of life are ... captured in short scenes. They don't tell ... a story, and yet, they te… More »

THE EIGHTIES

Belgium, 1983
The Melbourne Him Festival has been showing Chantal Akerman's highly original and demanding films regularly over the years ("Jeanne Dielrnan", "Les Rendezvous D'Anna", "Toute Une Nuit",) with varying… More »

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