Week 21/2024

Three years before the film was released in theatres, Chantal Akerman made a making of for her own Golden Eighties (1986). On Thursday, Cinema Palace will show the not often screened Les années 80 (1983) followed by a conversation with the film’s composer Marc Hérouet. Akerman had long had a dream of making a musical but obviously needed sufficient budget to do so. Partly to convince financiers, Akerman came up with the solution of making an edit of the rehearsal footage before the actual film was made. Yet, Les années 80 is more than a mere working document. Starting on a minutes-long black screen, we hear an actress repeating the same sentence, searching for the right intonation. What we get to see is the actual work that a film requires, how finding and scraping rhythm – “a love battle with reality and its elements” with Akerman herself jumping in and out of frame, directing, acting and singing (!) – can eventually lead to fiction.

While the destruction of Gaza continues relentlessly, Cinema Nova has the Israeli filmmaker and theoretician Eyal Sivan, who in his films, texts and interventions has always been critical of the Zionist politics of his homeland, as a guest this weekend. On Saturday, Nova screens his Izkor – Slaves of Memory (1991), a film about the orchestration of collective memory. Izkor – which means “remember” in Hebrew – looks in depth at this imperative that is imposed on Israeli children. During the month of April, feast days and celebrations take place one after another in Israel. School children of all ages prepare to pay tribute to their country’s past. The collective memory becomes a terribly efficient tool for the training of young minds. Then on Sunday, Nova shows another film by Sivan: Common State, Potential Conversation 1 (2012), which stages a virtual conversation between Arab-Palestinians and Jewish-Israelis, all “children of the country,” followed by an online discussion with Eyal Sivan and activists from the Israeli-Palestinian movement A Land for All who, from 2012 onwards, have been advocating the idea of one state for two peoples.

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed is a 1926 German animated film by Lotte Reiniger and is the oldest surviving animated feature film. Made with a silhouette animation technique Reiniger had invented, using cardboard figures and thin sheets of lead under a camera, the film tells the story of Prince Achmed, who steals a magic horse from a magician and goes on an adventure. On Sunday morning, the colourful film will be screened at Le Cercle du Laveu as part of their Ciné-Enfants programme.

This Week