“I KNOW THEY SAY YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN.
I JUST HAD TO COME BACK ONE LAST TIME.”
– Miranda Lambert
The story of the quintessential mother-daughter relationship is just that….quintessential. It’s timeless, and to a degree, somewhat predictable. We know the arc of that story. We can predict how, when, and where it will build to a traumatic climax, only to come back down again to the bittersweet ending we were looking for the whole time. Enter CHANTAL AKERMAN.
Born in Brussels to Holocaust survivors, AKERMAN’S approach to this all-too familiar story is anything but. She basks in the mundane. She looks for the ordinary. And whether she intends to or not, she turns that ordinary into extraordinary. This month’s film is the last film made by CHANTAL AKERMAN before her tragic suicide in 2015. Some say she died of a broken heart after the passing of her mother. Some say she was just a sad woman who always suffered from severe depression. But no one can argue what she left us with: a blunt, vigorous, and intensely personal cinematic landmark of monumental simplicity. She left us with “NO HOME MOVIE”.
May’s Movie: “NO HOME MOVIE”
“NO HOME MOVIE” is a documentary that captures long, candid, and open-hearted conversations between the filmmaker and her mother shortly before her mother passes. In a New York Times interview , AKERMAN stated, “I think if I knew I was going to do this, I wouldn’t have dared to do it.” Despite being a pioneer figure in feminist & experimental filmmaking, “NO HOME MOVIE” was booed by many for being long and boring. For me, the beauty of this film lies in the longevity and bleaknesss of its scenes; in the obsession over the simple snapshots into her mother’s daily life; the brief snippets and stories revealed about her mother’s past. Through the use of handheld camerawork and even using a Blackberry to show the landscape in Israel, AKERMAN intentionally shoots for a feel of privacy over professionalism.
May’s Wine: 1995 DOMAINE LEFLAIVE CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET
A good wine can tell a story just like a good film can. The grapes are clearly the characters, but the most important part lies in what builds those characters and makes them who they are. The story of a wine begins with its terroir. And the story of terroir is what has always been most important to female winemaker ANNE-CLAUDE LEFLAIVE of DOMAINE LEFLAIVE. The wine I chose this month is her 1995 CHAEVALIER-MONTRACHET CHARDONNAY.
In the world of Burgundian wine, nothing is prized or praised more than terroir. Where the grapes reside and how they reside holds more value than the grapes themselves sometimes. The careful combination of soil, climate, altitude, and cultivation of grapes is something that ANNE-CLAUDE LEFLAIVE held very near and dear to her heart, right up until she passed in 2015. Her passion laid with her land, and while she certainly didn’t invent bio-dynamic wine-making, she surely became one of its biggest proponents, and put bio-dynamic wine-making on the wine world’s radar. When everyone was looking at new chemical components to make the vines last longer, she adamantly stayed strong in her beliefs that first and foremost you take care of where you come from. You take care of your home.
The 1995 CHEVALIER-MONTRACHET is a wine similar to its winemaker, advanced and ahead of its time. On the nose, this medium-gold wine is simply striking, evoking earthy aromas, chalky, full of saline minerality, with a touch of gunflint. The palate is equally impressive, with an elegant balance of depth and freshness; of ripe yellow fruit and wet stones. The finish goes on for what feels like forever. And you hope that it does just that…lasts forever.
Whoever “they” are, they say that nothing lasts forever. But what does last are our memories. This month’s wine and film pairing are a testament to the ladies who made them. CHANTAL AKERMAN and ANNE-CLAUDE LEFLAIVE stayed true to who they are as women and as artists…until their very last breath. It should be a lesson to us all.