D’Est (From the East)

D’Est is Chantal Akerman’s first documentary film shot on trips taken as the Soviet system was about to collapse, and echoes her legendary Jeanne Dielmann in its minimalist approach and long, uninterrupted sequence shots. Akerman has said she went ‘while there was still time’—what kind of time, nor whose time, nor if there is any elsewhere, is not known. The film avoids dialogue of any kind—though people often enough exchange words, they are not audible, and never subtitled. It is a wordless winter travelogue through the countries of Eastern Europe, from East Germany, through Poland and the Baltic states, across Russia towards Moscow. The Soviet era has gone, a collapse leaving behind a seemingly stunned, endlessly waiting populace. Akerman alternates between existence in public spaces and in private spaces. She alternates day and night. And she alternates static shots with moving shots—but not just any old travelling shots. Bleak, for sure, but beautiful image-making and laying out of materials, the deft and caring work of a great artist. “In my films I follow an opposite trajectory to that of the makers of political films. They have a skeleton, an idea and then they put on flesh: I have in the first place the flesh, the skeleton appears later.”—Chantal Akerman.

The inaugural Dialogues event in the Looking, Really Looking! retrospective, featuring Luis Croquer and Marat Grinberg, takes place October 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm, in conjunction with this screening of D’Est. Further information about the dialogue can be found here. It will take place at the PNCA Mediatheque, 511 NW Broadway.

Other Films by Chantal Akerman

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman and Saute ma ville are both depictions of a woman’s work in the home, but portray two women who approach domestic tasks very differently. The mother, Jeanne Dielman, performs sex work for male clients daily for her and her son’s subsistence. Like her other activities (bathing, knitting, and shining her shoes),

Rue Mallet-Stevens, Hôtel Monterey & Trois strophes sur le nom de Sacher (1972-1989)

This program presents three Chantal Akerman films from 1972 to 1986, including one of her first feature films made in New York which foregrounds her long takes of interior spaces that frame human encounters and memory of their presence or absence. The films also introduce Akerman’s first collaborations with the cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton. Rue Mallet-Stevens

Lettre d’un cinéaste, Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman & Autour de “Jeanne Dielman”

This program presents three films across three decades on artist/filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who directs two of the films in which she interrogates herself as subject alongside the nature and raison d’etre of cinema itself. In Lettre de Cineaste (1984), Akerman with Aurore Clément as a kind of stand-in or proxy asks “What is cinema for?

Letters Home

CANCELLED—On 11 February 1963, Sylvia Plath, poet and author of The Bell Jar, thirty years old, married, with two children, killed herself. In 1975, Sylvia Plath’s mother, Aurelia Schober Plath, published Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963, an edited volume of her late daughter’s letters. In 1979, Rose Leiman Goldemberg wrote Letters Home, an off-Broadway hit which addressed the

J’ai faim, j’ai froid & Portrait d’une jeune fille de la fin des années 60 à Bruxelles

CANCELLED — Young female characters take the lead roles in Akerman’s early films in which they seek their own identities and sexuality. In Portrait de une jeune fille (1993), a girl has decided to ditch school forever; she tears up her report card. At the movies, a boy next to her touches her leg with