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Almayer’s Folly

Chantal Akerman
La folie Almayer
Belgium, France  2011 / 127’

Bathing in suggestive atmospheres, this adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel of the same name reintroduces director Chantal Akerman to New Horizons audiences, who have seen her earlier dance documentary On Tour With Pina Bausch (9th NH). The Belgian director resorts to characteristic long, static takes to transport Conrad’s tale into a time closer to our own, focusing on the main character, Kaspar, and his relationship with daughter Nina, for whom he wants only the best in life. Present throughout are the director’s examination of colonialist legacies, the recurring theme of a white European male trying, and failing, to control nature – here incarnated in the character of the independent Nina – and the melancholy sense of Almayer’s defeat.

Iwo Sulka

Chantal Akerman

Akerman, daughter of Jewish emigrants from Poland, is one of the most distinguished European avant-garde artists. She was influenced by the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard and relations with New York underground directors. There, impressed by the works of Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas and particularly Michael Snow, she made her first feature Hôtel Monterey (1972). Later on, in Europe, she directed feminist films, which experiment with narrative and are shot in slow rhythm with long takes.

Selected filmography

1972 Hôtel Monterey

1974 Ja, ty, on, ona / Je, tu, il, elle / I, You, He, She,

1978 Spotkania Anny / Les Rendez-vous d’Anna / Meetings with Anna

1983 Un jour Pina a demandé / One Day Pina Asked Me

1989 Histoires d’Amérique / American Stories, Food, Family and Philosophy

1991 Nuit et jour / Night and Day

1996 Kanapa w Nowym Jorku / Un divan a New York / A Couch in New York

2000 Uwięziona / La captive / The Captive

2004 Jutro przeprowadzka / Demain on déménage / Tomorrow We Move

2011 Szaleństwo Almayera / La folie Almayer / Almayer’s Folly

Prepared by: Iwo Sulka

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Official site

Cast & Crew

director Chantal Akerman
screenplay Chantal Akerman, based on the novel by Joseph Conrad
cinematography Raymond Fromont
editing Claire Atherton
music Steve Dzialowski, Lucas Vidal
cast Stanislas Merhar, Aurora Marion, Marc Barbé, Zac Andrianasolo, Sakhna Oum, Solida Chan
producer Chantal Akerman, Patrick Quinet
production Artémis Productions, Liaison Cinématographique, Paradise Film
sales Doc and Film
language French, English, Central Khmer
colouration colour