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.
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.
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