In 1976, the twenty-six-year-old Belgian director Chantal Akerman returned to New York – the site of her wanderings earlier in the decade – to make “News from Home,” a serene and monumental time capsule of Manhattan streetscapes and subways. Akerman transformed her luminous, textured images of the city’s rectilinear majesty by means of a simple yet radical gesture: she paired them, on the soundtrack, with her own reading of newsy and needy letters that her mother wrote from their home town of Brussels.
– The New Yorker
Other feature films that Akerman was rumored to have considered:
- Beautiful shots of city basketball courts, paired with a recording of husky breathing by her aging grandmother
- Picturesque desert sunsets, with superimposed images of skyscraper construction sites, and paired with a looped recording of a mom asking, “Say cheese! … Wait is this on movie mode? How do I make this take a -“
- A split screen view with one side having breathtaking footage of Yosemite Natural Park, and the other side a small but busy barbershop, paired with flopped Rodney Dangerfield jokes
- Vignettes of stray city cats paired with a doting father’s advice and lessons teaching a son or daughter how to drive a car