Là-bas (Over There)

Là-bas is one of Akerman’s most fragile and powerful works, in which she uses her own voice to personalize and narrate the visual images. For a month in Tel Aviv, Akerman points her lens outward through two large windows with blinds that filter the light of the exterior world. Apprehensive about a recent bombing, Akerman constructs a profound meditation on whether Israel is indeed the ‘promised land’ or merely a new form of exile. Winner of the Grand Prize at the Marseille International Documentary Festival and nominated for a French César, in Là-bas Akerman, who was heavily influenced by structural filmmakers like Michael Snow, “takes the aesthetic strategies of the minimalists and marries them to the humanist content that they suppressed. Fragile…and powerful.”—Amy Taubin, Film Comment. (French and English with English Subtitles)


Dis-Moi (Tell Me), France, 1980
dir. Chantal Akerman (45 mins., Documentary, Digital)

The first film, after over 10 years in filmmaking, in which Chantal Akerman—herself the daughter of an Auschwitz survivor—engages with the Holocaust through intimate discussions with three Jewish grandmothers, all of them survivors of the Shoah. Akerman conducts the interviews herself, bearing witness to stories told by these elderly women and how they have been cut off both from their pasts and themselves by the experience of such horror. Dis-Moi is “history as weft. The lineal facts may provide the warp, but without the weft we are unlikely to feel, because we all know what it is to sit beside a mother and hear the family history.”—Adam Roberts, The Huffington Post. (French with English Subtitles) New English subtitles by A Nos Amours, London.

The program will be introduced by Sara Jaffe, a fiction writer living in Portland, OR. Her first novel, Dryland, was published by Tin House Books in September 2015. Her short fiction and criticism have appeared in publications including Fence, BOMB, NOON, Paul Revere’s Horse, matchbook and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians drawing on her experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata. She is also co-founding editor of New Herring Press, a publisher of prose chapbooks. As of Fall 2016, she will be Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Oregon.

Looking, Really Looking! is presented by the Northwest Film Center and Zena Zezza, a Portland-based contemporary art project, and is curated by Sandra Percival and Morgen Ruff. The project begins with four screenings this summer and resumes in September 2016, running through May 2017.





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

Le 15/8 & Dis-moi

These three early Chantal Akerman films (spanning the 1970s) bring together different structures by which Akerman finds her own voice—through listening to her mother, through a surrogate young woman, and through listening to the voices of three grandmothers she interviews. Domestic scenes that demand daily chores and food preparation identify the roles of these women;

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