American Journal (Journal d’Amérique), dir. Arnaud des Pallières, France 2022, 112 min., English intertitles
Arnaud des Pallières’s new work unfolds as the four-month diary of an anonymous narrator in an unspecified year, weaving together images and narratives from the USA in the 20th century. More than a decade after American Dust
) (2011), the French filmmaker embraces a similarly essayistic form, alternating archive material with reflective intertitles and subjective text. Des Pallières’ distinctive cinematic language continues his exploration of a partly fantasised USA, portrayed as both a physical place defined by personal stories and a universal space marked by global events.
Des Pallières returns to the extensive collection of the San Francisco-based Prelinger Archives as a major source for American Journal – the title nodding to Bertolt Brecht’s eponymous autobiographical book describing his impressions after arriving in California. The combination of found footage and personal words suggest a distinct sentiment towards the USA, yet American Journal equally unfolds as a relatable space into which the viewer can actively project their own thoughts and sensibilities.
This UK premiere is followed by an online Q&A with director Arnaud des Pallières, hosted by film academic Raquel Morais.
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