Seven years before Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles broke the three hour mark and earned Chantal Akerman the loyalty of arthouse film fans and feminists alike, the Belgian filmmaker made her debut with this considerably shorter DIY effort. Saute ma ville stars Akerman herself as an eccentric young woman who seeks any means of amusement she can come up with while in her claustrophobia-inducing studio apartment. And as in Jeanne Dielman (the Criterion edition of which includes Saute ma ville), all of this mundanity can only be leading towards an apocalyptic finish.
Compared to the kind of structural film-influenced work that Akerman would soon become known for, Saute ma ville is considerably more rough-hewn and imbued with teen angst. The title translates to “Blow up my town,” which gives one a pretty good sense of where her head was at as an 18-year-old female: she’s excited about Godard and not so excited about the prospect of her life revolving around making pasta, cleaning her apartment, and any other non-filmmaking activities. Even film school proved to be too confining, as Akerman found herself dropping out in order to actually pursue what she had signed up to study. With that in mind, Saute ma ville can be viewed as a metaphor for its own creation: art as a means for obliterating banal routine.