Chantal Akerman retrospective continues
(aka Aujourd' hui, dis-moi)
A film by Chantal Akerman
With Autour de Jeanne Dielman, Sami Frey’s fascinating video shot on the set of Jeanne Dielman, edited by Chantal Akerman and Agnès Ravez. 70 mins
Thursday 13rd March, 7.30pm
A Nos Amours continues a retrospective of the complete film works of Chantal Akerman with Dis Moi (1980) in which the film-maker, herself a daughter of a holocaust survivor , engages for the first time with the Shoah.
Dis-moi was commissioned for French television (TF1) as part of a series about grand mothers ('Grands-mères, un série proposée par Jean Frapat'). Akerman choose to talk with several elderly Jewish women – all of them survivors of the Shoah.
Akerman has a terrible family history of her own – “My mother arrived in Brussels in 1938 from a small town near Krakow. In 1942 she was taken to Auschwitz, just 30 miles from where she grew up…Her parents died there and most of her family” (from an interview in the Jewish Chronicle). Akerman’s mother Natalia, a teenager at the time, survived, a quite unimaginable orphaning.
The film-maker is in the frame and conducts the interviews, bearing witness to stories told by these elderly but dignified women survivors. But there is comedy here too – after all, these are stubborn, tough and wayward women who if bored are quite capable of losing interest in interviews and film crews, preferring to switch on the TV.
Nothing invokes the European disaster better than these encounters with orphans on the Shoah – cut off from the past and themselves by experience of horror.
Subtitled in English by A Nos Amours for the first time, translated by Sylvie Beaufils.
Future Akerman screenings up to April 2014
(start times are to be confirmed)
10.4.14 Toute une nuit
24.4.14 Les Années 80
Chantal Akerman is a film maker whose time has come: her work is news that stays news. It is a cinema that reinvents and redefines what film is and should be.
Akerman's work is superficially wide-ranging - documentary and narrative, film and video, 16mm and 35mm, cinema and gallery - and yet her work is characterised by an uncompromising and singular sense of purpose.
What Akerman shows us, by means structural and otherwise, is nothing less than the human condition, a series of astonishing mediations on loneliness and anxiety, alienation and discomfort.
Akerman so quickly, from her earliest work, established a startling and provocative project that is among the very greatest in European film.
As J. Hoberman has said: "Comparable in force and originality to Godard or Fassbinder, Chantal Akerman is arguably the most important European director of her generation".
“I don’t feel like I belong, and that’s without real pain, without pride. Pride happens. No, I’m just disconnected, from practically everything. I have a few anchors, and sometimes I let them go or they let me go, and I drift. That’s most of the time. Sometimes I hang on for a few days, minutes, seconds, then I let go again. I can hardly look. I can hardly hear. Semi-blind, semi-deaf, I float. Sometimes I sink. But not quite. Something, sometimes a detail, brings me back to the surface, and I start floating again…”·(from Akerman's voice over to Down There (2006))
A Nos Amours is very grateful to the British Film Institute and to Wallonie-Bruxelles International for their financial support of this retrospective. Thanks also to Picturehouse, to the ICA, to the Royal Belgian Film Archive and to Paradise Films.
A Nos Amours is delighted that
the Akerman retrospective is supported by
ICA Cinema, the BFI and by Wallonie-Bruxelles International.