A Film for Chantal Akerman

A film for Chantal Akerman (1968–2015); feminist pioneer of avant-garde cinema, video artist, muse and friend.

Chantal Akerman is not just one of the most celebrated female directors, but she is also widely regarded as one of the greatest film auteurs of the avant-garde in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Akerman explores the concept of women’s time, women waiting in time and space; she employs very long takes in which (seemingly) very little happens. Akerman often films in spaces of exile and transience, such as train stations, empty streets, hotel corridors, and other places of transition, including kitchens and domestic spaces. Though she employs formal strategies common to structuralism (such as extremely long takes) Akerman’s work is deeply personal and rooted in her own experiences.

Akerman’s mother was the only member of her Jewish family to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. Akerman’s final work,’No Home Movie’ (2015), consists of a documented conversation with her mother recorded shortly before her mother’s death in 2014. Akerman’s films and art installations explored personal themes with which she was preoccupied: lesbian identity, subjectivity, alterity, quotidian reality, mother-daughter relationships, Jewish diasporic identity and the experience of exile. Akerman was indeed very prolific – she constantly created new and unexpected films and art installations; avant garde experimentations in image, gaze, space, performance, and narration.

Chantal Akerman lives on through her many films and video art installations; her work continues to inspire filmmakers and visual artists around the world.

Online Virtual exhibit, The Pythians, http://thepythians.net/gwendolyn-audrey-foster-2/ Curated by Tova Beck-Friedman, Posted October, 2017.

#DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party : September 1-30, 2018.

For more on Chantal Akerman see my book, a collection of essays, “Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman,” which includes chapters by Maureen Turim, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Jennifer M. Barker, Ivone Margulies, Catherine Fowler, Janet Bergstrom, Ginette Vincendeau, Judith Mayne, Kristine Butler and myself. (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003). –Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

“A Film for Chantal Akerman” is created from recycled images in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license. “A Film for Chantal Akerman,” by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

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