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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathAkerman
Empire (Warhol, Andy), 1964

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«Sleep,» 1963), or a reality such as the Empire State Building («Empire» 1964), ridden with prior representations, his exaggerated focus always tips representation from its figurative to its literal properties and vice versa. The Physical Dimension The dual register of figuration and literalness promoted by extended duration in American experimental film, and the inscription of a second-degree realism in European modernist cinema, both involve a corporeal dimension: insisting on and amplifying the referential aspect of representation, they constantly remind the viewer of physical, material presences—of cinema, of the actor/performer, of the spectator.

While in Akerman's early films the issue of performance is a byproduct of a fixed, oblivious camera modeled on Warhol and on structural filmmaking, her later, narrative films involve an oblique mise-en-scène and a mode of address—the monotone dialogue qua monologues of «Jeanne Dielman» and «Les Rendez-vous d'Anna»—, that recall the anti-naturalist cinema of Bresson and Dreyer. Through Akerman's films, I will explore the points of rapprochement between these two cinemas. Geared in Europe to a textualized,


anti-naturalism (Bresson, Rohmer, Dreyer's «Gertrud,» etc.), in the U.S. to experiments with proto- and infra-narrative forms (Andy Warhol, Michael Snow, James Benning), these bodies of work reflect unique approaches to narrative and performance. In Akerman, they meet, through a radical reconsideration of the notion of theatricality. [7]

Pop Art and Minimalism

Chantal Akerman's stay in the United States in the early 1970s exposed her to experimental film, minimal art, and new American dance and performance art. In 1972 she frequented Anthology film Archives, Millenium, and attended, along with the cinematographer and filmmaker Babette Mangolte, performance events. In different ways, pop and hyperrealist art addressed [modernist] art's entrenchment in pictorial abstraction—its dual proscription of figuration and concept. [8] Pop art contributes a more ironic image for the critique of the sign and of consumer society advanced by Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, and Henri Lefebvre in '60s' France. Revising the opposition between modernism and realism, pop art stress[ses]

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