am 6. Juni 1950 in Brüssel. Besuch eines Lyceums in Brüssel.
Mit 15 Jahren sieht sie den Film "Pierrot le Fou" von Jean-Luc
Godard und wird angeregt, selbst Filme zu drehen. Für vier Monate
besucht sie die Film-Hochschule in Brüssel (INSAS). Nach eigenen
Aussagen hat sie dort keine Anregungen erhalten. 1971 längerer
New-York Aufenthalt und Beschäftigung mit den Filmen von Stan
Brakhage, Michael Snow und Jonas Mekas. Seit 1968 dreht sie Filme.
Born Brussels, 6th June 1950. Education Attended
INSAS film school, Brussels, 1967-68; studied at Universite Internationale
du Theatre, Paris, 1968-69. Career 1971-Blow up My Town entered in
Oberhausen festival; 1972-lived in New York; 1973-returned to France;
1997-instructor at Harvard University. Address c/o National Tourist
Office, 61 Rue de Marche Aux Herbes, Brussels, B1000, Belgium.
the age of 15 Chantal Akerman saw Godard's Pierrot le fou and realized
that filmmaking could be experimental and personal. She dropped in
and out of film school and has since created short and feature films
for viewers who appreciate the opportunity her works provide to think
about sounds and images. Her films are often shot in real time, and
in space that is part of the characters' identity.
During a self-administered apprenticeship in New York (1972-73) shooting
short films on very low budgets, Akerman notes that she learned much
from the work of innovators Michael Snow and Stan Brakhage. She was
encouraged to explore organic techniques for her personal subject
matter. In her deliberately paced films there are long takes, scenes
shot with stationary camera, and a play of light in relation to subjects
and their space. (In "JeanneDielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080
Bruxelles", as Jeanne rides up or down in the elevator, diagonals
of light from each floor cut across her face in a regular rhythm.)
Her films feature vistas down long corridors, acting with characters'
backs to the camera, and scenes concluded with several seconds of
darkness. In Akerman films there are hotels and journeys, little conversation.
Windows are opened and sounds let in, doors opened and closed; we
hear a doorbell, a radio, voices on the telephone answering machine,
footsteps, city noises. Each frame is carefully composed, each gesture
the precise result of Akerman's directions. A frequent collaborator
is her sensitive cameraperson, Babette Mangolte, who has worked with
Akerman on such works as "Jeanne Dielman", "News from
Home", and "Toute une nuit". Mangolte has also worked
with avant-gardists Yvonne Rainer, Marcel Hanoun, and Michael Snow.
Plotting is minimal or nonexistent in Akerman films. Old welfare clients
come and go amid the impressive architecture of a once-splendid hotel
on New York's Upper West Side in Hotel Monterey. New York City plays
its busy, noisy self for the camera as Akerman's voice on the soundtrack
reads concerned letters from her mother in Belgium in "News from
Home". A young filmmaker travels to Germany to appear at a screening
of her latest film, meets people who distress her, and her mother
who delights her, and returns home in "Les Rendez-vous d'Anna".
Jeanne Dielman, super-efficient housewife, earns money as a prostitute
to support herself and her son. Her routine breaks down by chance,
and she murders one of her customers.
The films (some of which are semiautobiographical) are not dramatic
in the conventional sense, nor are they glamorized or eroticized;
the excitement is inside the characters. In a film which Akerman has
called a love letter to her mother, Jeanne Dielman is seen facing
the steady camera as members of a cooking class might see her, and
she prepares a meat loaf-in real time. Later she gives herself a thorough
scrubbing in the bathtub; only her head and the motion of her arms
are visible. Her straightening and arranging and smoothing are seen
as a child would see and remember them.
In "Toute une nuit" Akerman displays her precision and control
as she stages the separate, audience-involving adventures of a huge
cast of all ages that wanders out into Brussels byways on a hot, stormy
night. In this film, reminiscent of Wim Wenders and his wanderers
and Marguerite Duras's inventive soundtracks, choreography, and sense
of place, Akerman continues to explore her medium using no conventional
plot, few spoken words, many sounds, people who leave the frame to
a lingering camera, and appealing images. A little girl asks a man
to dance with her, and he does. The filmmaker's feeling for the child
and the child's independence cannot be mistaken.
Akerman's "Moving In", meanwhile, centers on a monologue
delivered by a man who has just moved into a modern apartment. A film
of "memory and loss," according to Film Comment, he has
left behind "a melancholy space of relations, relations dominated
by his former neighbors, a trio of female 'social science students.'"
Schiff. In: Amy L. Unterburger (Hrsg.) The St. James Women Filmmakers
Encyclopedia Women on the other Side of the Camera. Detroit [u.a.]:
Visible Ink, 1999, S. 4-5
Jacqueline. Chantal Akerman. Brüssel: Séminaire 1982
on Fiction. Chantal Akerman's "D'Est". Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg.
Hrsg. von der Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris. 1995
Charlotte. Films for women. London: British Filminstitut, 1987
Gwendolyn A. Identity and Memory. The Films of Chantal Akerman.
Townbridge: Flicks Books, 1999