Throughout her oeuvre, Chantal Akerman has often revealed a fascination for the outer and inner landscape of the United States. The original plan for Sud was to make a portrait of the South, inspired by her love for the work of William Faulkner and James Baldwin, and for the beauty of the landscape. She changed that approach when a few days before her arrival a terrible crime took place in Jasper, Texas. James Byrd Jr, a black man, was mistreated by three white men, tied by a chain to the back of their truck and dragged along until he was dead. In long static shots, Akerman provides in Sud a picture of in and around Jasper, a small town with a largely black population. She talks to whites and blacks about the gruesome event and about race relations in general. She shows a church service in memory of Byrd. Towards the end of the film, a man talks about the background to the murder, especially about the 'Christian Identity' movement, that propagates white supremacy and so lynches people, burns down churches and tries to disrupt the peace and security of the black community. Sud concentrates on meditating on the aftermath of the murder and is a sad monument to the umpteenth senseless victim of a senseless fight.
Director
Chantal Akerman
Country of production
France
Year
1999
Festival Edition
IFFR 2000
Length
70'
Medium
Betacam SP PAL
International title
South
Language
English
Producers
AMIP, Xavier Carniaux
Sales
Doc & Co
Screenplay
Chantal Akerman