i wrote a long essay about chantal ackerman’s news from home (1977) a couple of years ago and often post screenshots from the film on my tumblr. it’s amazing. it’s so simple and poignant. the frames and mise en scene are perfect. it’s an essay film but it’s also an epistolary film because all you need are images and words and the voice (of missing someone; something). the voice of the streets, in the streets, for the streets. a sense of what’s really important. to see what is in front of you when it’s in front of you. and for me the film is also deeply nostalgic because tribeca, where i grew up, is so horribly gentrified now. the final ferry scene kills me. it’s like the radical opposite/inversion of melanie griffith entering the empire via the staten island ferry in working girl. while ackerman recedes from the empire and does it in wide shot, with no cuts, and very very very slow. she knows what mourning is. in the 80s, america battled precarity. no one ever got hurt onscreen. bodies survived every death. america/ns couldn’t imagine having to leave anything or anyone behind. or die. it only knew how to enter. occupy. 80s american cinema is full of 9 lives heroes. post mortem. return of the repressed. the waking dead. hard bodies. ackerman knew: there is no place that’s home.
Crossposted with Love Dog.
Images from News from Home, 1977