Films byTexts by Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) was a Belgian film director, screenwriter, producer, artist and writer born in Brussels. Her directorial debut at 18 years old was Saute ma ville (1968). She made more than 40 films, including Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) and the documentary trilogy DʼEst (1993), Sud (1999), and De lʼautre côté (2002).

Chantal Akerman, 1968, 13’

…a young lady in her apartment’s kitchen mops the floors, polishes her shoes, dances, cooks, drinks wine, then she duct-tapes the door, opens the gas and blows everything up – humming all along.


Chantal Akerman, 1972, 11’

Panning shots describe the space of a room as a succession of still lives: a chair, some fruit on a table, a collection of solitary, waiting objects. Sitting on the bed there is the presence of a young woman: the filmmaker herself, eating an apple.


Chantal Akerman, 1972, 65’

“In the second of her 1972 experiments, Akerman again wanted to draw viewers’ eyes to elements in the frame that they might not otherwise have considered. Similarly focused on architecture and interior spaces, Hotel Mônterey is grander in scope than La chambre.

Chantal Akerman, 1974, 86’

« Je, tu, il, elle est un film unique, pour moi : il reste extrêmement fort parce qu’il est fait avec sa chair, sa peau, sa vie. Quand on dit que quelqu’un a tout mis dans un film, on peut dire qu’elle a effectivement toujours tout mis dans son cinéma, sans artifice. »

Chantal Akerman, 1975, 201’

Jeanne Dielman, a lonely young widow, lives with her son Sylvain following an immutable order: while the boy is in school, she cares for their apartment, does chores, and receives clients in the afternoon. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.


Chantal Akerman, 1977, 85’

News from Home consists of long takes of locations in New York City, set to Akerman’s voice-over as she reads letters her mother sent her between 1971 and 1973, when the director lived in the city.


Dear child,

Chantal Akerman, 1978, 127’

“Why/how are the images so gorgeously luminous and cadaverously creepy at the same time, a form of possession and dispossession that seems to match perfectly Akerman’s relation to her movie, which she uses like a mirror? Is that the way that we use it, too?

Chantal Akerman, 1982, 90’

« Je me souviens de Toute Une nuit (1982) avec Aurore Clément, c’est un film auquel je pense encore souvent et qui compte beaucoup pour moi. J’en vois encore tous les plans, comme la gare de Bruxelles à la fin.

Chantal Akerman, 1983, 82’

“It begins with voices heard over black - the voice of an actor and a director, trying to find the right intonation for a short enigmatic phrase: ‘A ton âge, un chagrin, c’est vite passé’ - meaning, ‘At your age sorrows soon pass’, or maybe, ‘At your age misery doesn’t last’.

Chantal Akerman, 1984, 12’

“Je moet alleen doen waar je echt zin in hebt, zei ze me. Als je als toneelregisseur enkel zin hebt om Tsjechows stukken te ensceneren, omdat je dat het mooiste vindt van wat er ooit voor het toneel geschreven is, dan doe je dat toch, zegt ze.

Chantal Akerman, 1986, 96’

“Aanvankelijk zin om een komedie te maken. 

Een komedie over de liefde... en de handel. 

Burlesk; teder, waanzinnig. 

Vervolgens was één plaats het uitgangspunt van alles. 

Een plaats die ik goed ken omdat ik er verscheidene malen als verkoopster heb gewerkt.

Chantal Akerman, 1993, 107’

“Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est [From the East], made in 1992 and early 1993, carries a heightened self-consciousness about the circumstances of [its] weighty historical moment.

Chantal Akerman, 1999, 71’

For Sud, Chantal Akerman traveled to the American South after having discovered that a black man named James Byrd Jr. was gruesomely murdered by three white men.

Chantal Akerman, 2015, 115’

Daniel Kasman: This is not the first film we’ve seen of yours that is about your relationship with your mother. This has been a filmmaking motif for you. Can you say something about its importance, the relationship to your filmmaking practice?