Down there 0+

(Lá-bas), Chantal Akerman, FRA-BEL 2006, English version, 78 min

Israel, Tel Aviv, days in a flat by the sea. The window is open and a light breeze causes a fluttering of the blinds, the narrow openings of which allow in slices of daylight. The director took up a camera to film, without any particular design in mind, but nonetheless to explore how it is possible to live a normal life in a country tormented by the acts of suicidal bombers.

The result is as though Hitchcock's Rear Window had been turned inside out and brought to life, with the window and blinds symbolising the barriers between the intimate and the social worlds, and like a film diary the director, who at the time was teaching at a local university, records the trepidation caused by significantly insignificant events between her flat and the terrace of the opposite building.

Akerman is a silent observer, only at times changing her perspective to follow an airplane in the sky or objects in the room. This school of perspective feeds a desire to never leave the room at all; long shots are occasionally interrupted by a monologue or a fragment of a conversation.

This minimalist film, reminiscent of the early work of Marguerite Duras, relies on an open structure in which chance determines what happens. There are only distant echoes of the director's Jewish identity, the memory of a mother who survived the holocaust.

Chantal Akerman's work, which has become a key perspective in feminist film theory, has made her one of the leading figures in European film, in the ranks of Godard and Fassbinder. - Petr Kubica

The partner of the screening is International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava.


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