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 his; they talk, they kiss. These simple events are full of poetry, of confusion, discovery, ambivalence, insecurity, beauty. “It moves beyond being one of the great coming-of-age films; it is simply one of the great films.”—Dave McDougall, Mubi. In J’ai faim, J’ai froid (1984), two young Belgian women in Paris finish each other’s sentences and they smoke each other’s cigarettes. The girls eat almost continuously in the film and no amount of food seems to satisfy them. Though Akerman uses this insatiability for comedic effect, there are also strong feminist motives for so unreservedly displaying women absorbed in eating. Ultimately, both films explore relationships between young girls, as one conventional girl-meets-boy tale gives way to lesbian desire, and the other film portrays girls joined at the hip and ready for the challenges of the day—as women in the world—as long as they stick together.
Update 10/12/2016: Unfortunately, due to rights complications, our 10/17/2016 screening has been cancelled. We are very sorry for any inconvenience, and will be working to secure the films for the Spring 2017 section of our Chantal Akerman retrospective.