Fashion Square Sherman Oaks, one of the last shopping malls in America, is featured briefly in Amy Heckerling’s CLUELESS, months before it would be hit by an enormous earthquake, allowing Macys and Bloomingdales a chance to buy up some seriously discounted real estate. Another mall, a closed and stifling world of consumer goods and heartache bathed in thick pastel-coating, is the entire setting for Chantal Akerman’s GOLDEN EIGHTIES. Featuring a character named Jeanne, played again by Delphine Seyrig (of JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES), Akerman frames her female characters (and men) within the basement-level confines of this cavernous mall, as they experience the ups-and-downs of romantic entanglement, with a few delightfully casual song-and-dance numbers to boot. The capitalist commodifications continue as we leap almost a decade into the future, from Brussels to Beverly Hills, as we follow another group of women (and a few men) through the spacious soda-fizz universe of 90’s L.A., as they deal with their own hang-ups involving love and matchmaking (and wish to God they could spend their entire movie inside a mall like Akerman’s characters did). Both filmmakers exhibit a particularly descriptive style, taking their time to set up characters and environments along flat lines that change and complicate the transforming plot, allowing them the chance to explore the details of their social milieus at their own speed. Shopping, make-overs, the Jewish identity, plus the highs and lows of dating unite these two wonderfully exuberant and joyously busy films, complementing and responding to each other quite unlike anything else.