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French Women Filmmakers • Chantal Akerman

  • Wednesday, September 20 • 6:30 p.m.

  • Free for members and students* • $15 Non-Members

  • On Site - Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In French with English subtitles

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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantal Akerman, 201 min., Belgium)

For the first time in 70 years the Sight and Sound poll has been topped by a film directed by a woman – and one that takes a consciously, radically feminist approach to cinema. Things will never be the same. – Laura Mulvey

A cliché in detective fiction, “look for the woman” means to look for the source of mayhem to solve the mystery… This is exactly what we’ve done – look for la femme behind the camera to bring you the most memorable films made by women from France and beyond.

A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow, whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or as one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades. – Criterion

With a complimentary glass of Bourgogne Louis Jadot. Enter a chance to win Sofitel’s Le Bar gift certificate at this screening! Wine served at 6:00 p.m., program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Post-screening discussion with Nick Davis, Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University. Series curated by Nick Davis, Aimée Laberge and Paprika Bonnin-Occansey

* Entrée Libre for students with ID on-site/.edu addresses online. High school, college or university.

About Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman was born in 1950 in Brussels, and died in Paris in 2015. Akerman was a pioneer in feminist and experimental filmmaking. Born to Holocaust survivors from Poland, the generational trauma of this experience was a continuing theme in her work and in recent decades she explored her own Jewish identity. She made over 40 films during her lifetime, and is considered to be one of the most important European directors of her generation. 

Akerman’s interest in film was sparked at the age of 15 by a viewing of Jean-Luc Godard’s “Pierrot le Fou” (1965), prompting her to enroll in the Belgian film school, INSAS. After about two years’ study she quit school, eager to begin making films rather than sitting in a classroom. 

Akerman saved money from clerical and waitressing jobs to make several short films which received minimal recognition. It was not until she moved to New York in 1971, and became acquainted with avant-garde filmmakers such as Michael Snow and Stan Brakhage, that Akerman began to develop her distinctive visual style.

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