No Home Movie – Love Letters through Skype
This film is an act of love, one so direct and brazen that it becomes something else. And given that no words will ever be able to translate a daughter’s gesture towards her mother, let’s dwell on what else Chantal Akerman describes in this film.
Filming her mother, Akerman takes leave of a world that is disappearing – that of the 20th century and its great tragedies – and at the same time decides to survey a new reality and its relationship with the concept of space. She herself says it: I want to show how there is no more distance in the world. If for a whole century cinema has served as a link between here and elsewhere, laying out the narrative as a journey from one to the other, now this journey has lost its significance, because images no longer need cinema to travel.
No Home Movie is a film of presences. A film where the camera records the flow of time. A film designed like an installation, in other words using a device to draw out something that a traditional production can no longer deliver. Look at the shots that compose it: the out-of-focus face of an old woman on a computer monitor, a tree battered by the wind with the desert behind it, glimpses of a house whose furnishings reveal a petit-bourgeois context, a modest kitchen…
What makes them significant? What is it that she does to make these simple images become presences that we must confront? As always in Akerman’s films, the answer lies in the duration, in extending the weight of the gaze just a bit further than necessary, so that something else can resound. Rightly Chantal Akerman states that she is not making a family film. But she constructs a discourse on the family that concerns our relationship with images.Carlo Chatrian