Tuesday, February 16, 6:15 PM
Visual Arts Presentation Lab, SME 149

 

La chambre and News from Home offer two different views on a defining moment in Chantal Akerman’s career. From fall 1971 to spring 1973, she lived in New York. The first film, La chambre, was shot in an apartment on Spring Street. Conceptualized as an homage to the structuralist filmmaking of Michael Snow, Akerman lounges in bed while performing different actions and changing her gaze as the camera revolves three times in the room.

News from Home, which Akerman later referred to as “an archive of New York,” documents the city’s sensory past. Shot in 1976 in a series of long takes, the film captures the passages and corridors of the Times Square subway station, as well as the rigid street patterns of Hell’s Kitchen, Harlem, the Lower East Side, and unknown parts of old downtown. In opposition to Akerman’s “objective” means of depicting the loneliness of the city, the sound of her voice as she reads her mother’s letters aloud on the soundtrack enables the personal dimension of her cinema to be established for the first time.