Born a decade apart, Chantal Akerman (1950–2015) and Pina Bausch (1940–2009) were two remarkable female artists who redefined our cultural expectations. In theatrical dance works, Bausch took commonplace gestures and transformed them into extraordinary pageants, while Akerman choreographed wonderful cinematic compositions made of rhythmical everyday elements. In One Day Pina Asked, Akerman documents Bausch and her dance company for five weeks while they are on tour in Germany, Italy and France. The encounter is a meeting of sensibilities, a perfect combination of the filmmaker’s sage framing and the dancer’s flamboyant world-making. One Day Pina Asked “reproduces the pull between meaning and its impasse that structures Bausch’s dances. Focused under Akerman’s lens, Bausch’s oeuvre resolves as a matter of the quotidian, pathologized, its order deranged not through an absence but an acceleration of some underlying logic: something, in other words, like the readymade subject of an Akerman film.”—Courtney Fiske, Artforum. (French with English Subtitles)
The program will be introduced by Linda Austin, co-founder & director of Performance Works NorthWest in Portland, OR, has been making dance and performance since 1983, often with a strong visual element and a commitment to commissioning original music. Her working process exploits and explores the body’s powers and limits, bringing each performer’s vulnerabilities and strengths, accidental awkwardness and elegance, into a web of relationships—intimate, playful, confrontational—with other bodies, objects, environment, sound and media. The resultant improvisational and/or highly choreographed works are non-linear, poetic, often laced with humor, deploying movement that often disrupts what is generally considered “dancerly.” Austin’s background was originally in theatre.
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
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 …
An in-depth, probing, and sensitive look at migration specifically centered around the deserts of Arizona and the Mexican states of Agua Prieta and Sonora, which Akerman approaches with a characteristically nuanced perspective.
Investigating the brutal hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr., in Jasper, Texas, 1998, Akerman paints a typically meditative and ingeniously powerful portrait of a specifically American brand of racial hatred.
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 …
Akerman transports Joseph Conrad’s 1895 debut novel to the de-colonizing 1950s, in which a Dutch trader doggedly seeks elusive treasure and the jungles of Cambodia come alive.