Rowley, Alison (2009) Between Les Rendez-vous d’Anna and Demain on Déménage: m(o)ther inscriptions in two films by Chantal Akerman. Studies in the Maternal, 2 (1). p. 15. ISSN 1759 0434

In the opening sequence of Chantal Akerman’s 2004 film Demain on Déménage (Tomorrow
We Move) a grand piano hangs upside down high in the air against a clear blue sky. Sharp
intakes and exhalations of breath register tension and anticipation (like the delicate
beginnings of an orgasm), as the instrument sways and creaks on its straps in its movement
through the air. The sounds issue from the mouth of the actress Aurore Clément, and right
away I recognise her as the character Anna Silver from Les Rendez-vous d’Anna, a film made
by Akerman in 1978 in which Clément plays the role of a daughter. The flash of recognition
collapses nearly two decades of Akerman’s films in an instant as the actress’ roles as
daughter and mother are superimposed in the mind. Simultaneously it involves, unavoidably,
the perception of the gradual work of time on Clément’s physiognomy. I am affected by its
subtle reconfiguration of her beauty, a fascination that offers a counter movement to the
exchange of Clément’s fictional role from daughter to mother, one that stretches rather than
collapses time in contemplation of the actual biological process of aging on the actress’s face
as the camera moves in close to register its responses to the progress of the character’s
beloved piano swinging towards its new location.

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