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; Le 15/8 and L’enfant aimé, for example, share a sense of domestic space in which life is represented as a rhythmical process, with pulse, form, and function of all the parts made visible. In Le 15/8, Akerman presents a stream-of-consciousness in a voice-over, that of a young Danish woman in Paris. She is there looking for work, in an apartment that is not her own. Time passes and her thoughts are heard, but there is also judgment and taking issue with the woman’s own body, presented as if the locus of criticism lies outside her own self, a trope that seems to emerge directly from the mirror sequence of L’enfant aimé. Dis-moi is a set of interviews conducted by Akerman as she travels from door to door, knocking and being asked in by a series of elderly, respectable-looking ladies. Over coffee and cakes, these women, all Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, share their dread tales, amid stories about food and love and family life.

Update 10/3: due to the rarity of L’enfant aimé ou je joue à être une femme mariée, we have been unable to secure a proper, subtitled screening copy for this event. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working on securing it for a Spring show.