News from Home

News from Home ★★½

Murky extended scenes of a grubby, grimy New York City in 1976. Some along streets, some on the subway and an interminable 10 minute one shot from the back of the Staten Island Ferry as we see Manhattan recede into the distance. Occasionally we get a voice over narration by Belgian director Chantal Akerman, reading letters from her mother sent in the early 70s when Akerman was living in NYC and before she was an acclaimed filmmaker following the release of 'Jeanne Dielman...' in 1975. The letters plead for the daughter to write more often and tell them how she's getting on, and confirm she's received money that's been sent. They explain how her parents have not been well, and give news of which of her relations are getting married/having a baby/splitting up. Most of all they yearn for Chantal to return to Belgium.
Sometimes you've got to work very hard to appreciate art and I've never worked harder than with this film, however I was not sure by the end if this was art or just a long, tedious, boring, self-indulgent home movie.

williamfaeleith liked these reviews