News from Home

Knowing nothing going in, I was pleasantly surprised to discover what this film was. Using mostly static footage of New York City with the sound not always particularly matching the action, Akerman reads off letters from her mother. The thing I found most remarkable is that by hearing these letters, we get a sense of Akerman herself, like watching a silhouette form before our eyes. We get a sense of who she is by what isn't said--the fact that her return letters never reach our ears creates an Akerman-shaped void that tells us many of her secrets.

The images, which are at once instantly recognizable as New York City (even though I've only ever been there for a single day), create a strange mix of detachment and familiarity. The off-kilter sound is disconcerting at times, oddly fitting at others. The way the sound drowns out the voice-over at times is alarming. It conveys a sense of bewilderment, loneliness, and being lost.

December count: 40/100.

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