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? Who is it for? If the Mosaic prohibition on making graven images includes film images, then where does that leave a Jewish filmmaker?” Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman (1996) turns a commission for Cinéma, de notre temps (a long-running French television program about filmmakers) into a study of herself in which she discovers a feminized sensibility and another way of seeing the world and self through a monologue accompanied by a montage of clips of her films including Hotel Monterrey and Histoires d’Amerique. The final film of the program is Sami Frey’s documentary video Autour de Jeanne Dielman (1975), shot on the set of her most famous work, Jeanne Dielman, and edited by Akerman. In questioning Akerman on how she wants her to comb her hair, a frustrated Delphine Seyrig tells Akerman “when you explain something, you find you don’t want to explain it,” perfectly encapsulating the notoriously unclassifiable filmmaker.

Update 9/22: due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to present Chantal Akerman Par Chantal Akerman at this screening as previously planned. However, we will be screening the film at a later date, likely in Spring 2017 as part of the ongoing Akerman retrospective. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Other Films by Chantal Akerman

Portraitdunejeunefille

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

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

Letters Home

Letters Home

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

From-the_East

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 legenday 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,

J'ai faim, j'ai froid

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

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

News_from_Home

News from Home

Akerman returned to New York in 1976, having blazed a trail in Europe with her extraordinary Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. She was travelling back to a city of decay (decidedly not decadence) with letters her mother had written to her when she was in New York in 1972. These letters provide