Chantal Akerman’s films are typically characterized as minimalist and melancholy due to her signature long takes and understated performances. Yet her films also express extraordinary lyricism and euphoria, notably through song. Amid the highly patterned narratives and the exquisitely precise repetition and variation of stylistic strategies, songs imbue Akerman’s films with a range of meanings and experiences we rarely associate with her work: a jolt of joy, an impression of intense human connection, a reference to popular culture. Through unpredictable humming, an opera duet, a cappella performances, and full-fledged production numbers, Akerman employs the female singing voice to signify human connection, but also destruction and dysfunction.

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