No Home Movie ★★★★

Stylistically, my two greatest influences this year so far easily come from Akerman + Bresson. Godard, Resnais, Davies, Lynch, Cassavetes, Dreyer — their films imparted an equally great impact, some certainly more so than the best of either Akerman or Bresson, but only with these two did I witness a formal style that I not only responded to most passionately, but also anxiously wanted to adopt for my own*.

But this desire to adopt can very well come from a fallacious place. Both Akerman + Bresson operate within a certain kind of minimalism that can easily be mistaken + misunderstood as facile + replicable, when in fact the formal rigor often belies a deep well of emotions + ideas that are personal, mature, and impassioned. Walking out of the BAMPFA screening, I overheard a young, clever filmgoer try to explain to his mates that the desert shots in “No Home Movie” symbolized Akerman’s emptiness in her personal life, or something to that effect. While certainly legitimate, this reductive reading doesn’t even begin to tap into Akerman’s appeal. Emptiness is one (easy) way to read this, yes, esp since the deserts are of course… empty. But there are also less abstract, more positive readings possible in these very same shots + sequences. The beauty of both Akerman's + Bresson's films is that they typically resist quick, digestible diagnoses, even when they superficially seem to invite such analyses, first + foremost by being so present + alive in the moment.

*For my own curious sake, the essence of the aforementioned six other auteurs can be distilled as such: Godard for his endless bricolage, Resnais for his stylized import of historical memory, Davies for his musical warmth + passion, Lynch for his mind-bending dreams, Cassavetes for the physical immediacy he brings out of his actors, Dreyer for his frightening dialectics (and those eyes). All these particular styles are so awesome + at the moment beyond what I believe I can accomplish as a filmmaker.