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Feature Friday: “Je, tu, il, elle” (1976)

Chantal Akerman is probably best-known for her 1975 masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, which is definitely required viewing. But all of her films are worth exploring! For instance, one year later, she released Je, tu, il, elle, a minimalist nouveau roman nightmare of a film. Its plot is extraordinarily simple: Chantal Akerman plays Je, a young woman who lies in bed and eats sugar, then abandons her room to hitch a ride with a truck driver, Il (whom she jerks off). Then she returns home to sleep with her ex-girlfriend (Elle). Meanwhile, you (Tu) watch; it’s really a lot like real life. The film’s style, meanwhile, goes toe-to-toe with the plot in terms of sparseness …

Je, tu, il, elle (1976)

Directed by and starring Chantal Akerman

Written by Chantal Akerman, Eric De Kuyper, & Paul Paquay

Bonus! Here’s the Criterion Collection’s page on the film.

More Bonus! Here’s Akerman’s first great (short) film, Saute ma ville (Blow Up My Town) (1968):

L’enjoy!

A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

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