Monday, February 1, 2021

THE SCHOOL OF CHANTAL AKERMAN: JOE PERA TALKS WITH YOU


Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

 

When I have a favorite television show I go through various stages. First it’s the initial viewing. Then I go back and watch it again. The third time is to see if I missed any of the details or small moments. After that I just have it on in the background as I’m doing something else because I’ve become so comfortable with it. After that I move on to something else for a while. Then it’s the re-discovery period which brings about a whole new appreciation.

This has been my journey with Joe Pera Talks With You.

Over the first wave of the pandemic in early 2020, adult swim played reruns of Joe Pera and I honestly forgot how perfect of a show it is.
What stood out the most during my re-watch were the visual similarities between it and the films of Chantal Akerman (mostly Jeanne Dielman... but quite a few of her other films as well).
Much like how everyone considers anything "weird" to be "Lynchian", I find myself calling anything slowly paced with long un-broken shots to be Chantal Akerman-esque. I know I need to stop doing that but in the case of Joe Pera it does make sense.

Some films are so influential that they’re injected in to the DNA of cinema to the point that some filmmakers don’t even need to see something to be influenced by it. This applies to everything from the films of Spielberg & Lucas to Fellini & Hitchcock. While Chantal Akerman isn’t exactly a household name like the aforementioned directors, her work (specifically Jeanne Dielman...) is often cited as one of the most influential films within the world of (slow) modern art house cinema. Akerman has been referenced quite a bit these days (Swallow, Joker, Mrs. America, etc), so it isn't that crazy to associate her with Joe Pera and it's brand of slow television.


Putting aside the obvious visual similarities presented in this post (coincidental or not), both Joe Pera Talks With You and Jeanne Dielman... are very hypnotic (although I will say that Akerman has close to 50 years of films under her belt that extend beyond the narrow world of just Jeanne Dielman...). The longer you stare at the shots the more you start to zone out (I made a point to use scenes/shots where the camera stays fixed in one position for an extended period of time).


Le Chambre / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Les Rendezous D'Anna /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
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Jeanne Dielmann / Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
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The Golden Eighties /
 Joe Pera Talks With You

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Hotel Monterey / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Les Rendezvous D'Anna / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

News From Home / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You


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