“Who Will Sing Folk Songs?”: The Film Musical in Nine Variations
New Restoration

Glorious … Set in a stifling mall and popping with pastel clothes, its lovelorn characters sing of their dreams, sometimes backed up by a chorus of hairdressers.”

Cristina Cacioppo, MUBI Notebook

Though Chantal Akerman began with portraits of emptied-out space (Hotel Monterey, Je tu il elle), by the mid-’80s her canvas was increasingly crowded, whether in the romantic handoffs of Toute une nuit or a documentary following Pina Bausch. Golden Eighties, a deeply personal, totally extroverted musical, shows the further heightening of this tendency. Completely contained within a shopping mall, the film is permanently poised to break out—in exquisitely choreographed song-and-dance numbers, nervous breakdowns, or maelstroms of capitalism-enthused monologues. Most of the action starts in a salon out of which Lili, Mado, Pascale, and several other coiffeuses long for romantic developments. The clothes shop opposite, run by Jeanne (Delphine Seyrig), offers a glass-door view of a likely suitor. The film’s compressed melodrama swings from teen infidelity to memories of WWII. Its classic antecedent might be, rather than a golden-age musical, Vincente Minnelli’s The Clock.

The entire oeuvre of Chantal Akerman [can be] read as the other wedding,’ a meticulously hewn new formalism performed a cappella as she bobs in and out of the viewable canon of the avant garde, disregarding the patriarchy and its rituals deliberately yet embedded in it.”

Eileen Myles

A study in emotional surfeit within a minimalist pop aesthetic … It’s not clothes, jus d’orange, or movies that are on display, but the people who work there and whose entanglements and desires are, with one exception, shared, celebrated, and mourned in song and dance.”

Amy Taubin

Upcoming in this Series

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  • The Hole
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  • Tsai Ming-liang
  • 95 35mm
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Une Chambre Un Ville 3
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  • Jacques Demy
  • 93 DCP
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  • 66 DCP
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  • 116 DCP
  • PG
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  • The Disciple
  • India2020
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  • 128 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Dancer In The Dark 1
  • Dancer in the Dark
  • Denmark/Sweden/France/Iceland2000
  • Lars Von Trier
  • 140 35mm
  • 14A
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • All About Lily Chou Chou 5
  • All About Lily Chou-Chou
  • リリイ・シュシュのすべて
  • Japan2001
  • Iwai Shunji
  • 146 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Red Psalm 2
  • Red Psalm
  • Még kér a nép
  • Hungary1971
  • Miklós Jancsó
  • 84 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Golden Eighties 10
  • Golden Eighties
  • Belgium/France/Switzerland1986
  • Chantal Akerman
  • 96 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations