It Is Time
Sloth: Portrait of a Lazy Woman
is Akerman's episode for Seven
Women Seven Sins, an omnibus film of
by a group of women direc-
addresses the sin of sloth, of playing with time, Akerman's chosen
vice. In its unusual sloppiness, she has said, the film exposes her own
laziness: it feels as if she'd made
easily in a single afternoon. Even more
starkly than her feature work, this bare-bones quality reveals Akerman's
concern with duration.
In "Sloth" the experience of time passing and being wasted, measuring
things left undone, is interpolated by acute compressions. As the episode
starts, Akerman is lying in bed. She looks at the clock and says she'll get up
in a minute; we watch with her as the minute passes by. "To make a
film ... you have to get dressed ... but if you don't get undressed-you
don't have to get dressed. At least that's a gain!" she says, throwing off the
bed covers to show she's clothed and ready. Laziness, allowing time to slip
by-Akerman compensates for these very quotidian procrastinations by
clever shortcuts: gathering her pills for the day, for example, she saves
time by dropping them all in a glass of water and drinking them at once.
In discussing the distinctive traits and effects of Akerman's minimal!
hyperrealist style, I have often found myself describing a process of in-
conclusiveness and ambivalence. In Akerman's work, meaning emerges in
fits and starts, and is often presented under dual, conflicting banners.
Images flicker between the literal and the figurative register; sentences