The Time of Waiting

d'est

From Chapter 4 of Jonathan Crary’s 24/7, which I just taught:

Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est (From the East), made in 1 992 and early 1993, carries a heightened self-consciousness about the circumstances of this weighty historical moment. Shot mainly [122] in Poland and Russia in the year and a half following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it discloses a world in suspension, on the edge of an undetermined future, yet still weighed down by long-standing patterns and habits. Using very long takes, it is an extended portrayal of certain textures of everyday life, sometimes suggesting a Sartrean seriality. In her essay on D’Est, Akerman famously declared that she felt the need to make the film “while there’s still time” (“tant qu’il en est encore temps”).11 In one sense, she meant that she had to finish the project before it was too late, before cultural and economic forces transformed the subject of her work into something different, even unrecognizable. But, given the choices she made ofwhat to record, “while there’s still time” is also a way of saying: while there is still a world of time-inĀ­ common, a world sustained by a collective inhabiting and sharing of time and its rhythms, in the older sense of the word “quotidian.” Continue reading “The Time of Waiting”

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