No Home Movie
»I am not a feminist film-maker. I am a feminist – and I am a film-maker. But I’m also Jewish. Born in Brussels. And lesbian. And not lesbian. And I was born in 1950. I am so many things. But there are worse things than being called a radical artist. At least I prefer this description to ›feminist‹ or ›Jewish film-maker‹. Incidentally, I hate going to gay-lesbian festivals. I sometimes attend Jewish or women’s film festivals, but these are mere classifications. Things are more complex.«
– Chantal Akerman quoted by Stefan Grissemann, »Die Wahrheit des Augenblicks«, in: kolik.film, special issue 24 / October 2015
»[No Home Movie] is above all a film about my mother, my mother who is no longer. About this woman who arrived in Belgium in 1938 fleeing Poland, the pogroms and the abuse. This woman who we only see in her apartment, nowhere else. An apartment in Brussels. […] The film begins with a tree being shaken by a violent wind. The shot lasts forever. I felt it like that, static, like a beginning. A fixed frame but filled with movement, noisy, howling. It looks like it will never stop, but it does. A sunless shot, with a grey light, diffuse, without contrast, a beige light. is shot is followed by a sunny shot in a Brussels park, probably filmed in the spring when the green of the grass shines so much it dazzles you. In the foreground, an old man seen from the back, sitting on a park bench. This green was necessary after all that sand; calm was needed after the storm. And that’s precisely how the film has been edited; the shots aren’t there to give information; they work emotionally, affecting the spectator, touching him/her. The narrative advances step by tiny step, a little like how we enter this apartment in Brussels, where a woman walks with the fragile grace of someone who is trying to maintain her precarious balance. A woman who doesn’t let herself go …«
– Chantal Akerman
Born 1950 in Brussels as the daughter of Polish-Jewish immigrants. At the age of seventeen, she made her first short film Blow Up My Town and dropped out of INSAS film school – as with her drama studies somewhat later. In 1972, she went to New York for two years where experimental film-makers such as Michael Snow and Jonas Mekas were to influence her work. The breakthrough came in 1975 with her second feature film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quai, 1080 Brussels. Her total oeuvre amounts to over forty films. In 2004, the Centre Pompidou honoured Akerman with a retrospective of her films spanning five decades. She lived in Paris, Brussels and New York until her death in 2015.
Films by Chantal Akerman (Selection)
Demain on déménage (Morgen zieh‘n wir um) 2003 | De l‘autre côté (Jenseits von Sonora-Mexiko) 2002 | Un divan à New York (Couch in New York) 1995 | D‘Est (Aus dem Osten) 1993 | Nuit et Jour (Die Nacht, der Tag) 1991 | Histoires d‘Amérique (American Stories) 1988 | Golden Eighties 1986 | J’ai faim, j’ai froid (I ́m Hungry, I ́m Cold) 1984 | Un jour Pina m‘a demandé (Eines Tages fragte mich Pina) 1982 | Je, tu, il, elle (Ich, du, er, sie) 1974