News from Home (12A*)

Part of: The Grime and the Glamour season

A still from Chantal Akerman's News from Home

This hauntingly beautiful film brings us as close as we’re ever likely to get to spending time on the streets of 1970s Manhattan. 

Shot over the summer of 1976, the film contrasts transfixing, long-take shots of the city with readings of letters from the director’s mother back in Belgium. Matching her mum's domestic reports with images of desolate streets, dirty old diners, parking lots, and subway platforms – never any interiors of houses or flats – director Chantal Akerman creates a palpable sense of alienation. 

At once a powerful evocation of isolation, and a great love letter to New York, News from Home ends on an unforgettable final shot, looking back from the Staten Island Ferry as it pulls away from lower Manhattan, the Twin Towers shrinking in the distance.

 

US 1977 Dir Chantal Akerman 85 min, Digital presentation

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