Welcome back to Intermission, a spin-off podcast from The Film Stage Show. In a time when arthouse theaters are hurting more than ever and there are a plethora of streaming options at your fingertips, we wanted to introduce new conversations that put a specific focus on the films that are foundational or perhaps overlooked in cinephile culture. Led by yours truly, Michael Snydel (co-host of The Film Stage Show), Intermission is a 1-on-1 supplementary discussion podcast that focuses on one arthouse, foreign, or experimental film per episode as picked by the guest.
For our third episode, we talked with critic Phuong Le about Chantal Akerman’s 1978 classic of European rootlessness, Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (aka The Meetings of Anna), which is currently available on The Criterion Channel and on disc. Akerman occupies a revered but somewhat reductive place in the larger canon as the filmmaker behind foundational 70s experiments like Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels, La Chambre, and News From Home–but her body of work bucks categorical definitions or a single logline. If anything, the primary quality of Akerman’s vision is the layering of contradictions throughout her career. Her films are static but restless; sacred but mundane; verbose but chiefly concerned with the power of stillness. As such, they can be challenging at times, but also nearly always deeply rewarding.
An intimately spiritual but characteristically spare character study, Les Rendez-vous d’Anna also resists easy description. Its plot more a series of European waypoints than an explicit narrative, it follows a filmmaker named Anna Silver as she goes on a publicity tour from Germany to Belgium to France. In each location, she meets individuals–often strangers–who confide in her and muse about their personal issues and their own identity crises. That may suggest that it would be difficult to talk about, but our expansive conversation covered everything from Guy Debord’s Psychogeography to the historical anxiety of trains and the ways Akerman’s spaces function as stories.
Intermission episodes are shared exclusively with our Patreon community before being posted to The Film Stage Show’s main feed. One can also enter our giveaways, get access to our private Slack channel, and support new episodes by becoming a Patreon contributor. For a limited time, all new Patreon supporters will receive a free Blu-ray/DVD. After becoming a contributor, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an up-to-date list of available films.
Intermission is supported by MUBI, a curated online cinema streaming a selection of exceptional independent, classic, and award-winning films from around the world. Each day, MUBI hand-picks a new gem and you have one month to watch it. Try it for free at mubi.com/filmstage.