Big-budget burlesque comedy about the adventures of Henry (William Hurt) and Beatrice (Juliette Binoche) who swap apartments.
Burlesque comedy made on a large budget by the mistress of small and often serious independent films. A temporary apartment swap between a man in New York and a girl in Paris leads to hilarious developments. Henry (William Hurt) is a rich psychiatrist in his forties with a fantastic apartment in New York City. After his relationship breaks up he feels the need to come to himself. He puts an ad in the Paris edition of The Herald Tribune, in which he offers to swap his flat. The young dancer Beatrice (a role in which Juliette Binoche proves her great comic talent) pores over the The Herald every day to improve her English and sees Henry’s ad. She replies and steps out of her frugal Parisian student life into the New York jet set. Beatrice has a whale of a time but Henry has a hard time in Paris. He plunges into the life of the chaotic inhabitants of the run-down apartment and after a few household setbacks decides to fly back to New York. But Beatrice has very convincingly adapted to her new life; she takes over Henry’s psycho-analytical practice with verve (albeit at first by accident), providing Akerman with an opportunity playfully to debunk the rituals of this discipline. Beatrice and Henry turn out in the end to be impressed by each others personalities as well as their lives. –IFFR
Dubbed by the Village Voice as “arguably the most important European director of her generation,” Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman is known for making innovative films that have often earned comparison to those of Jean-Luc Godard or Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Although she rejects the label of “feminist filmmaker,” Akerman has become a guiding light in making films about the real issues faced by women, employing an experimental, deeply personal approach to her subjects.
A disciple of Godard (who first inspired the then-15-year-old Akerman with his Pierre le fou), Akerman attended Brussels’ INSAS film school and the Universite Internationale du Paris. She demonstrated her devotion to Godard with her first amateur short subject, 1968’s Saute Ma Ville (Blow up My Town), which three years after its completion was entered in the Oberhausen Festival. Working on the fringes of show business in New York in the early ’70s, Akerman became an enthusiastic participant in the avant garde film… read more