I've been trying to dig deeper into French cinema by seeing films from all the decades and figuring out what it is I like so much about how they do things. There’s a pace and tenacity that I found to be pretty refreshing as a viewer and Je Tu Il Elle is one of the most audacious films I’ve ever seen. It was Chantal Akerman’s feature length debut and she also stars as the main character. Akerman passed away five years ago, but her legacy will live on forever.
Julie is a woman who copes with a breakup by trapping herself in her apartment, writing a long letter, and only eating powdered sugar for an entire month. Once the sugar is gone and she has done all she can to forget, she leaves and hitches a ride with a truck driver. This leads to some pretty in depth conversations about all kinds of things before she decides to stop at a woman's house which seems to be the person who broke up with her at the beginning of the film. They engage physically in one of the most ambitious scenes I’ve ever consumed.
Chantal Akerman deserves all kinds of high praise for Je Tu Il Elle for so many reasons. It’s such a simple but extreme film with some powerful moments that feel almost uncomfortably real. She plays Julie with so much presence in each moment. I seriously grappled with this film and how raw it is but I respect it so much and want to see more of Akerman’s work.