A CELEBRATION OF CHANTAL AKERMAN

February 28, 2016

 

Chantal Akerman (1950 -2015) was an immensely influential filmmaker and artist whose work contributed substantially to feminist and avant-garde cinema. Three of Akerman's films will be screened during the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival. A special free screening of the 2015 documentary I Don't Belong Anywhere: The Cinema Of Chantal Akerman by Marianne Lambert, will also take place March 8th at 6pm in the Helmut Stern Auditorium at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

 

Many thanks to our Education Partners, the University of Michigan Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women & Gender for helping promote this educational event, and to our generous sponsor the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

 

News From Home (1977)is the first of three films to be shown at the Festival, and will screen at 5pm on Wednesday, March 16th. One of Akerman's essential films from the 1970s, News From Home is an especially vibrant period in the director's life. Letters from Chantal Akerman’s mother are read over a series of elegantly composed shots of 1976 New York, where our (unseen) filmmaker and protagonist has relocated. Akerman’s unforgettable time capsule of the city is also a gorgeous meditation on urban alienation and personal and familial disconnection.

 

From the East (D'est) (1993) retraces a journey from the end of summer to deepest winter, from East Germany, across Poland and the Baltics, to Moscow. It is a voyage Chantal Akerman wanted to make shortly after the collapse of the Soviet bloc "before it was too late," reconstructing her impressions in the manner of a documentary on the border of fiction. By filming "everything that touched me," Akerman sifts through and fixes upon sounds and images as she follows the thread of this subjective crossing. Without dialogue or commentary, From the East is a cinematographic elegy. The film will screen at 5pm on Friday, March 18th.

 

No Home Movie (2015) is an intimate portrait of Chantal Akerman's mother in the last years of her life. At the center of Chantal Akerman’s enormous body of work is her mother, a Holocaust survivor who married and raised a family in Brussels. In recent years, the filmmaker has explicitly depicted, in videos, books, and installation works, her mother’s life and their own intense connection to each other. No Home Movie is an extremely intimate film but also one of great formal precision and beauty, one of the rare works of art that is both personal and universal, and as much a masterpiece as her 1975 career-defining Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. No Home Movie will screen on Sunday, March 20th at 1pm.

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