Icarus Films displays its usual terrific instincts regarding which documentary films to add to its truly diverse DVD catalog in wisely choosing the 2015 Marianne Lambert film "I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman" for a May 10, 2016 release. "Belong" is the latest addition to the Icarus Akermanpalooza that predates the October 2015 death of that genuine citizen of the world documentary filmmaker.
The following YouTube clip of the "Belong" trailer showcases the nice "Inside the Director's Studio" vibe of the film.
The Akerman whom Lambert films is charming, more relaxed, and less entertainingly caustic than the Akerman of (the Unreal TV reviewed) "Chantal Akerman: From Here," which Icarus has released on DVD. Other (possibly related) contrasts are that "Here" has Akerman sitting in an uncomfortable chair during what seems to be an evening lecture, and "Belong" films her siting cross-legged on her bed on a bright sunny day.
Other parallels are that the films that Chantal discusses in "Belong" include some of those in the (also Unreal TV reviewed) aptly titled Icarus DVD release "Chantal Akerman Four Films."One theme of the remarks by Akerman is her reasons for her technique of extended sequences of narration-free footage. The accompanying footage from those fictional and non-fictional productions demonstrates that she chooses wisely.
We additionally learn more about the close relationship between Akerman and her mother that several films by the former reflect. These include Akerman explaining the genesis of a documentary in which she reads letters from her mother over images of New York City and discussion in "Belong" of the camerawork in a documentary that shows the mother going about her daily business.
Much of the aforementioned charm relates to a delighted Akerman reminiscing about her amusing mischievous antics related to making her films. A highlight revolves around her job in the box office of a gay porn theater facilitating an early film.
Akerman displays additional charm in sharing her responses to invitations to special-interest film festivals, such as Jewish and gay ones. The twinkle in her eyes that is prominent throughout "Belong" is in full force here.
Lambert additionally enlists indie film god in his own right Gus Van Sant to discuss the work of Akerman; particularly the influence of the latter on filmmaking.
We additionally hear from long-time Akerman editor/collaborator Claire Atherton. The most interesting remarks from Atherton center around she and Akerman being present for exceptionally disturbing negative feedback regarding an Akerman film.
The min takeaway from "Belong" is that it provides greater insight into the creative process of Akerman than she offers in the more formal setting of "Here," which has a broader scope. Both films are excellent, but "Belong" enhances the sense of mourning the loss of any possibility of sharing a croissant and a cafe au lait at a Parisian bistro with Akerman. Some solace remains regarding not having Akerman blow smoke in your face while openly defying anti-smoking guidelines.
The extra in "Belong" consists of 19 minutes of additional footage.
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