This project began when I first saw Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman,
Quai du Commerce, 1080 BruxeJles and was mesmerized by the hyper-
reality of everyday gestures. My interest in minimalism and in the notion
of nothing happening in modern realist cinema was sharpened during Bill
Simon's dissertation seminar and later in a talk with Ismail Xavier (Uni-
versity of Sao Paulo) who suggested I restrict my inquiry to this seminal
filmmaker ofthe early seventies.
In writing this book I again confirmed my closest friends' generosity. I
would like to thank Catherine Russell for reading this work in its many
shapes and for her perceptive and generous criticism. From Mark Cohen,
one of the world's greatest readers, I profit everyday. His demand that I do
my best always slightly surpassed in pressure his loving sympathy for my
desire to finish, and him I thank for the final form this book takes.
Several people deserve thanks for the roles they played in this book's
early stage as a Ph.D. dissertation in the Cinema Studies Department at
New York University. They are Stephen Donadio from Middlebury College
and Annette Michelson who facilitated my contact with Akerman and her
work by providing the opportunity for a first viewing of several of her
films in a seminar on Akerman in Middlebury in the Spring of 1987; my
thesis advisor, Bill Simon, for furthering my interest in cinema studies;
Robert Starn for his inspired and knowledgeable allusions, editorial com-
ment, and continuing friendship during all my New York years; Peggy
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