Chantal Akerman, une cinéaste à Bruxelles

From 4 October to the end of July 2024, Brussels will celebrate Chantal Akerman, her work and her person, in the form of a cinematic, artistic, literary and architectural journey. Cinema Palace is kicking off this tribute by organising a preview of the restored version of Toute une nuit by CINEMATEK on 4 October (before its release on October 5th), in the presence of Aurore Clément and Caroline Champetier, the film's director of photography. Shot exactly 40 years ago in Brussels, Toute une nuit is a film about desire and the strength of feelings to the point of vertigo, a film shot in Brussels for “its bricks and its New York horizontality”, a film that bears witness to this city with its different textures today. Cinema Palace will also present an exhibition of the film archives preserved by the Chantal Akerman Foundation: press and production documents, notes of intent, script and cuttings, which will also form the basis of a guided tour of the city, in search of a Brussels that no longer exists and its architectural and urban evolution.

On 5 October, CINEMATEK welcomes Aurore Clément, who acted in many of Akerman’s films, from Les Rendez-vous d'Anna to Demain on déménage. She will do a reading of the book Une famille à Bruxelles, written by Akerman, reappropriating the reading that they used to do together. This will be followed by a special screening of the first four short films Akerman made in the summer of 1967 for her entrance exam to INSAS, recently rediscovered in the collections of CINEMATEK. Shot in Brussels and on the Belgian coast, before her 1968 debut film Saute ma ville, these four shorts of 2 minutes each already reveal the filmmaker’s cinematic gestures and talent.

On 6 October, BOZAR presents Self-portrait / Autobiography: a work in progress (1998), an installation that has not been shown much and in which the artist’s voice-over is the main thread and, through images of the films that have marked her career and extracts from Une famille à Bruxelles, resituates her intimate journey. On 21 October, the Belgian premiere of Hôtel des Acacias, a film exercise carried out by INSAS students during a workshop supervised by Chantal Akerman in 1982, will also be shown. Finally, the BAFF closes this autumn programme in November with the previously unseen documentary Autour de la Folie Almayer, a making-of of Akerman’s last feature film.

On 8 October, Géry Leloutre, urban planner, architect and professor at ULB, will take visitors of that day's screening of Toute une nuit on a walk through the film’s set, the center and outskirts of Brussels. With the film fresh in mind, you can get an idea of the period of turmoil and development that the city of Brussels went through in those years.

Other cultural partners will take over in the spring of 2023, continuing this adventure which will lead, among other things, to a complete exhibition at CINEMATEK and a major exhibition at Bozar, attempting to fill the void left by Chantal Akerman since her departure and the absence in Brussels of one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, admired and acclaimed worldwide for her visionary work and the universal questions that run through it.

Image: News from Chantal Akerman (Martine Lancelot, 2020)

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