Keimena #36: Golden Eighties and No Home Movie
by Chantal Akerman

Monday August 21, 2017, 24:00 on ERT2
Golden Eighties, 1986, France/Belgium/Switzerland, 96 min.
No Home Movie, 2015, Belgium/France, 115 min.
Director: Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman, the director of No Home Movie and Golden Eighties among other classics of independent cinema, died in October 2015. Her uncompromising career culminated in the singularly radical testament of her final feature film, No Home Movie.

Akerman’s irreverent debut as an 18-year old auteur, Saute ma Ville, was set in the kitchen of her parent’s home in Brussels. Her best known film, the 1975 feminist landmark Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, unfurled almost entirely in the claustrophobic confines of a woman’s home.

So it seems only fitting that her career as a filmmaker should conclude with a loving, heart-rending portrait of her mother, the most probing scenes of which are set, once again, in a Brussels kitchen. A home movie, then—but also anything but, as it captures the artist trying to come to grips with a lifelong sense of homelessness. It concludes with a typically unsparingly, unsettling final scene.

That Akerman was able to paint a rosier picture of everyday life is attested in Golden Eighties. Here the daughter’s love for her mother (a Polish-born survivor of the Nazi extermination camps) and her parents is expressed in a deliciously lithe romantic musical comedy. Set in a vintage 1980s shopping mall, the film is full of autobiographical winks and double-entendres.

The two sides of Chantal Akerman will be missed for a long time to come.

—Dieter Roelstraete, Curator documenta 14

Posted in Public TV on 08.21.2017