On the soundtrack during their encounter in the apartment, we hear Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Suzanne’ (Michèle shoplifted the album from a music shop earlier during her and Paul’s wanderings), the lyrics of which (‘Suzanne takes you down/to a place by the river/you can see the boats go by/you could spend the night beside her…’) form a poignant counterpoint to the encounter shown and implied onscreen. This is Michèle’s first sexual encounter, but given the importance accorded to Danielle and Michèle’s connection, it is tempting to ‘hear’ Cohen’s song as the reminder of the presence of yet another woman in the room.
From Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster
Portrait d’une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles
Suzanne by Leonard Cohen