January 17, 2005
Tomorrow We Move, 2003
In the film's droll, double entendred opening sequence, a breathless woman, Catherine (Aurore Clément), speaks off camera in dulcet, anxious tone as she provides a series of guiding, seemingly appetent directions against the image of a grand piano craned precariously overhead, culminating with a stray tear that falls from her cheek at the point of pleasant resolution. The introductory, tongue-in-cheek correlation between relocation and sexuality provides an appropriate context to the inconvenient domestic arrangement in the film as the nurturing, vivacious piano teacher has decided to move in with her only child, Charlotte (Sylvie Testud), an insulated (and introspective) pulp novelist of erotic fiction following the death of her husband only to realize that the apartment is too small for their needs and that the only practical solution is to move again. Recalling the effervescent lyricism of Window Shopping and the intrinsic humor of the domestic displacement comedies, Night and Day and A Couch in New York, and fused with the burlesque theatricality of late period Alain Resnais, Tomorrow We Move playfully encapsulates thoughtful, recurring themes within Chantal Akerman's oeuvre: displacement, perpetual migration, artistic isolation, cultural disconnection (in the triggering of indirect, sentimental memories by a fumigated apartment during Charlotte's apartment-hunting trip with the real estate agent Popernick (Jean-Pierre Marielle)), surrogacy, and the identification of the female speaker (in a poignant discovery of the grandmother's diary, a Polish Jew who had perished in Auschwitz). Juxtaposed against the underlying theme that the act of moving represents a figurative death of a relationship (whether through physical separation or change in life circumstances), the film serves as an understated, whimsical, and elegantly realized exposition on the sentiment of rootlessness and perpetual exile.