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    • Chantal Akerman
    • Belgium, France
    • 2014
    • 115 min
    • Dutch Premiere
    • Masters
    “My mother is the focal point of my work,” Chantal Akerman explains in a documentary that fellow filmmaker Marianne Lambert recently made about the Belgian director. In 2014, Akerman documented the final days of her mother Natalia’s life. Not a lot happens. This Auschwitz survivor suffered from chronic anxiety and rarely left her Brussels apartment. She resists recalling past events, preferring small talk. Akerman films with a handheld video camera, but she also uses Skype and smartphone footage. The less-than-ideal image quality and occasionally downright awkward perspective – the camera sometimes flung down somewhere while still on – lends the film an uneasy, almost voyeuristic intimacy. The domestic scenes are interspersed with shots of a dry landscape where an uncontrollably hard storm rages, symbolizing Natalia’s romantic desire to be elsewhere. Emotions are only visible in rare moments of friction between mother and daughter. Just like in her 1975 breakthrough feature Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which meticulously records the life of a housewife, here Akerman documents the routines of another invisible woman. Less than a year after her mother’s death, Akerman also died.

    Credits

    • 115 min
    • color
    • DCP
    • Spoken languages: Hebrew, French
    • Subtitles in: English
    Director
    Chantal Akerman
    Production
    Chantal Akerman for Paradise Films, Patrick Quinet for Liaison Cinematographique, Serge Zetitoun for Liaison Cinematographique
    Cinematography
    Chantal Akerman
    Editing
    Claire Atherton
    Sound
    Chantal Akerman

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