A Nos Amours
A book from A Nos Amours gathering up all the research and writing that went into making the London Chantal Akerman retrospective possible.
Between 2013 and 2015, A Nos Amours presented in London a complete retrospective of the films of the celebrated film-maker Chantal Akerman. This was a complex and demanding project as rights and screening copies turned out to be widely scattered and difficult to access. The research needed to present this retrospective is offered in this book so that others may easily follow suit.
Also included are the texts, journalism and blogging that was offered to the audience as a means to engage with film-works that are at once radical, heterodox and, in many cases, too little known. The book aims to provide an accurate and reliable source of detailed information about the films.
Texts are included that provide invaluable insight, including by:
Raymond Bellour, Richard Brody, Ivone Margulies, Marion Schmid and Ginette Vincendeau.
Laura Mulvey provides an expansive foreword, surveying Akerman's achievement, urging use of the book as an aide-mémoire for what stands as one of the most astonishing bodies of work in all cinema:
"As a collage of writing of many different kinds, the Handbook crucially bears witness to the effect that Akerman has had on the film community, from her earliest movies until her last... The high quality of the texts included in the book are all a reminder of the way that her ‘cinematic’ qualities have advanced our understanding of film." (Laura Mulvey preface)
Cineaste Magazine - by Sandy Flitterman-Lewis
Vol. XLVI, No 1.
Can a single book be a monument? I don’t mean “monumental” as in War and Peace, but an actual monument in and of itself, one that memorializes and celebrates a body of work and a cinematic auteur in an enduring way. If this were possible, an excellent candidate would be The Chantal Akerman Retrospective Handbook edited by Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts. A few years ago these two filmmakers co-founded A Nos Amours (named after a Maurice Pialat film that they both loved), an independent curation and programming project, in order to screen overlooked or important work that might not easily find an audience. Between 2013 and 2015 they organized a complete retrospective of films by Chantal Akerman, one that ended tragically with the posthumous screening of her last film, a film that she was supposed to present as part of a master class before her suicide rendered that moot. This subsequent Handbook documents in painstaking detail (texts, journalism, blogging, critical articles, process) all of the screenings and the critical universe that they produced.
Laura Mulvey’s comprehensive and elegiac foreword alludes to this, “[The Handbook] has a more emotional current running through it, leading back into the past of the retrospective itself and to the deeper, poetic implications of the enterprise…. [An] unusual sense of dedication runs throughout the publication, spreading out from the core organizing group to the ‘Akerman audience’ as the retrospective gained momentum, and generated special events: the theatrical release of je tu il elle in March 2015, the halfway Symposium [of filmmakers] in October 2014, the ‘Akerman Now’ [installation] exhibition at Ambika P3 in October 2015, and finally an international conference in November 2016.” So this is more than a collection, a chronicle, a volume. It is completely tied in to the retrospective itself and to the audience of both seasoned scholars and neophytes alike who comprised a community of cinephilic advocates for this now legendary figure. Speaking of the uniqueness of A Nos Amours, Adam Roberts asserts that the academy and the commercial exhibition and distribution structures, as well as the screening spaces such as the cinematheque, were inadequate to encompass such an original, inventive, and uncategorizable body of work as Akerman’s. And as the retrospective and the handbook together create an audience and a culture, they create a new kind of dialectic of cinema and society that goes beyond the actual finite screening of the films.
To read the complete review, please look in a copy of the magazine. Quotation is courtesy of Sandy Flitterman-Lewis & Cineaste Magazine.
TLS March 6th, 2020 - by Muriel Zagha
This is a handbook about time... [the book] records the monumental body of films that was shown then, in chronological order. It includes the detailed hand-outs given to the audience on the day, and also features critical contributions from Laura Mulvey, Raymond Bellour, Richard Brody, Ivone Margulies, Marion Schmid and Ginette Vincendeau. The final section contains the blog posts published by Roberts as illuminating companions to the screenings. The handbook gives some idea of what a demanding and complex labour of love the Akerman retrospective was, requiring as it did the excavation of screening copies and rights that were widely scattered and fiendishly difficult to obtain... ()
Film International July 29th, 2020 - by Thomas Puhr
If, like me, The Criterion Collection and Eclipse Series [...] have largely defined your knowledge of Chantal Akerman, then filmmaker Joanna Hogg and journalist Adam Roberts' encyclopedic Chantal Akerman Retrospective Handbook will contain revelations [...]
Being something of a paean to Akerman, the book veers, perhaps inevitably, into the hyperbolic [...] On the other hand, their superlative reverence is undeniably genuine and – considering this director's continuing marginalization in discussions of world cinema – arguably overdue [...]
Roberts' blog entries, which he wrote throughout the retrospective, are also compiled here. Erudite but accessible (sometimes even lyrical), these reflections will engage general readers. Watching Jeanne Dielman in theaters, uninterrupted, must feel daunting, so he offers some useful tips for active viewing (and listening), urging both first-time and repeat attendees to develop an “awareness of furniture, objects, the pattern of the chores that varies microscopically, revealingly”
[...] Their book is a testament to the enduring impact of one of cinema's great auteurs.
A Nos Amours
229 mm x 153 mm
BFI Southbank Shop