Les Annees 80

Wednesday, April 28th, 7:30pm

(A Tribute to Chantal Akerman)

Les années 80

Akerman, 82 min, 1983, VHS projection

One of Akerman’s most remarkable and essential films is not currently available in any subtitled form, so will be screened on VHS. The soft blur of the VHS format works well, though, for this impressionistic study of women’s voices and bodies, in Akerman’s beautifully edited film about film, consisting of footage of auditions for a musical she was attempting to make. “Considering Akerman’s craving to make a commercially successful film, it’s ironic that she gave the same French title, Les années 80, to both a feature-length preview of the musical she was trying to raise money for in 1983 (shown here as The Golden Eighties) and the finished musical that she finally made three years later (known in English as Window Shopping) — which certainly didn’t help matters much. It’s no less ironic that the preview — which consists of an hour of videotaped auditions with actresses, followed by 25 minutes of sample scenes from the movie in 35-millimeter — proves in many ways to be more emotionally affecting than the completed work.  –Jonathan Rosenbaum