All The Lonely People: Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)

Celluloid Wicker Man

Chantal Akerman’s first series of features in the 1970s have one defining aspect in common: all are suffused with loneliness. In her first fiction feature, Je Tu Il Elle (1974), a character wanders between lovers old and new but is always confused as to what she really wants. In Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975), we follow a woman trapped in the monotony of a mysteriously empty and solitary everyday life with her son. Even in her documentaries of the 1970s, Akerman has a vagabond approach which is haunted by solitude, her films being messages in bottles such as New From Home (1977); a city-poem narrated by letters received from her own mother. The 1970s peak for Akerman with perhaps her loneliest and most beautifully distanced of films, Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978). More so than her previous films up to that point, Akerman affirms the melancholy…

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