News From Home (1977): Akerman’s Meditation on New York City

“Why don’t you send us a photo?” asks Chantal Akerman’s mother in one of the love-anxiety lettres she sends her 21 year old daughter, newly relocated from Belgium to New York City.

Like mot mothers, she longs for a picture of her daughter–a visual reassurance-and perhaps she gets one, but the audience will not.

News From Home, a personal meditation on New York, alienation, and intimacy, passes without a glimpse of Akerman, despite her acute presence. Instead, Akerman shares her persistent, thoughtful gaze with the viewer, her contemplative lense affixing itself to the movements of New York City, with the non-diegetic voice of her mother’s letters laid over the images.

Using an inventive narrative strategy, Akerman steps back, letting the viewer stand in her place.

Running time 85 min.