09 20 Oct '24


Golden eighties
In depth 15 Apr 2024
This video essay by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin exposes those strategies in detail. They show how Akerman undermines the formal categories and narrative conventions of fiction film.

The shopping arcade in which Chantal Akerman's Golden Eighties takes place is a hall of mirrors. Intimate thoughts are expressed through exuberant musical numbers, personal relationships are mirrored in public choreographies. Scenes and situations are repeated throughout the film (with meaningful variations). Characters take on each other's roles and positions. The result is a diorama built with glass and curtains, where the boundaries between the public and the private disappear.

Akerman also plays her mirror game with the formal elements of the language of cinema. Sound effects become music and vice versa. Even the viewer's gaze is regularly mirrored by that of the characters: the fourth wall of the cinema screen momentarily turns into a one-way mirror.

Adrian Martin is a film critic and audiovisual essayist based in Spain. An archive covering 45 years of work is at www.adrianmartinfilmcritic.com

Cristina Álvarez López is a critic, writer and filmmaker based in Spain. Her website "on, with, around film" is laughmotel.wordpress.com

Filmscalpel twitter logo


Platform and website that pays attention to the format of the video essay, curated by David Verdeure.

Stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter

Do you want to stay up to date with festival news, our year-round activities, the films and the filmmakers?