dir. Chantal Akerman, France, 2011, 35mm, French w/ English subtitles, 127 min.
The first narrative feature in seven years by the great Chantal Akerman is this adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s debut novel, which concerns a Dutch trader living in Malaysia. Transplanting the story from the 1890s to the 1950s, Akerman has brought the history of an extra half-century of colonialism and foreign intervention to bear on Conrad’s tale, a story of cultural conflict, desire, and despair. Having married the adopted Malay daughter of the wealthy Captain Lingard in order to obtain an inheritance that has failed to materialize, Almayer has become isolated and bitter, trapped in his remote trading post, and investing all his emotional energy in his own beloved daughter, Nina. But, haunted by feelings of racial and cultural alienation and harboring hatred towards her father, Nina has no intention of providing him with comfort or companionship.