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Directed by Chantal Akerman

Belgium 1984 18 mins. In Belgian

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.

Genres: Documentary



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.