In this quasi-fictional documentary, Chantal Akerman travels—during the late summer to midwinter—from East Germany to Moscow, delivering an impressionistic chronicle of the changing reality of Eastern Europe.
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Captures a general atmosphere of uncertainty and melancholia, but it's hardly a "sublime masterpiece" (MUBI's words). Lots of tracking shots of miserable-looking people in miserable-looking locations, if that sort of thing strikes you as insightful.
A common critique I've seen lobbed at structuralist films is that in their quest for a sublime equation of form and content they end up overly neat and thus inert (or "gimmicky" if you wanna be a jerk about it). But D'Est… is sublime…
A rigorous look at a post-Cold War world. I love the way Chantal Akerman blurs the line between reality and fiction, perhaps reflecting the state of mind that people were in at this time, allowing for her subjects to look directly into the camera and wave. Simultaneously, this acts as a critique on contemporary docs and embraces the "artifice". Brilliant!
The tracking shots...unbelievably haunting. I love the sense created by Akerman of the Russians waiting, unsure of what their future now holds following the collapse of the Soviet Union. I'd love to make this kind of film myself.
CINEMA, 16mm _ This makes you want to discuss over again the question of length. But there is no shortcut for it and that is the best way to document something. Of course it can be boring to some. Especially if you grew up with bad TV habits. But this is educational and essential for the way you look at things. And the long trademark traveling shots reminded me of those made in NYC 16 years earlier. Magic.
Literally a tracking shot of the early days after the tearing down of the Iron Curtain. A documentary without words, with some moments presumably staged. Faces look long. Little sign of euphoria. A few faces may have a hint of a self-conscious smile, but overall, the feeling is that of wariness of the probing camera. An old reflex? Like a Foucaldian optic, the lens has the effect of a panoptic eye.