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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 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.

Other Films by Chantal Akerman

Nuit et jour (Night and Day)

Julie and Jack, recently arrived in Paris, are a young couple from the provinces who spend their days making love and their nights apart, while Jack drives a taxi and Julie walks the streets, waiting for him to come home.  Their vague aspirations take a backseat to their constant passion. “Music” resonates throughout—Julie sings wordlessly

From the Other Side

On the Mexico-US border, the twin towns of Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona—far from the population centers of Juarez/El Paso or Tijuana/San Diego—are home to both hopeful, persistent immigrants and resilient, spiteful permanent residents. As with most of Akerman’s documentary work, she brings a keen, searching eye to this most barren of places, in


The work of James Baldwin and William Faulkner long influenced Chantal Akerman’s work and life, and she had long planned to shoot a film about the American south — and finally, an opportunity came just before the new millennium. But in Jasper, Texas, mid-1998, James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man, was dragged behind a vehicle

Toute une nuit

One summer night in Brussels, sweltering heat stifles the community, which draws people out of their comfort zone and into despair. Akerman explores a series of on-the-brink relationships—break-ups, reconciliations—in the context of this hottest night of the year, where defenses are built, but at the same time, are down. Nearly wordless yet filled with subtle

Almayer’s Folly

With Almayer’s Folly, Akerman tackles the terrible legacy of the European colonial project in Southeast Asia head-on through an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s late-19th-century novel of the same name. Crucially, Akerman makes a handful of changes, transposing Conrad’s Cambodia for Malaysia and Conrad’s 19th Century for the 1950s, the tail end of direct colonial control.