Chantal Akerman Collection
For almost 50 years, until her suicide on 5 October 2015, Chantal Akerman was one of the cinema’s most original postwar auteurs – a documentarian, anecdotist, comedian, chanteuse, and restless innovator. She was Jewish, born in 1950 to Auschwitz survivor Natalia Akerman, and over the course of her many shorts, features, and installations, Chantal obsessively chronicled the legacy of her ancestors.

The Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, speaking at Akerman’s funeral, recited a Jewish phrase which seizes upon the power of her films, and the influence Natalia exerted over them: “Nishmata Tzroura Bitzror Hachayim.” “Her life is woven into our own.” Reflecting on her work, it’s clear that no other film artist bequeathed to her audience such intimate proof of having been here as Chantal Akerman. And this is what she leaves us – a cinema of unmade beds.

The range of her work is astounding, from largely experimental 'difficult' works represented by the three shorter films on in this set ('Hotel Monterey', 'News From Home' and 'La Chambre' ), to frothy musical-comedy, to introspective dramas represented here by the great 'Jeanne Dielman', 'Je Tu Il Elle' and 'Les Rendz-vous D'Anna'.

5xDVD | PAL | 542 min | 32.4 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English, Nederlands
Genre: Documentary, Drama


Hotel Monterey
This early experimental feature, slightly longer than an hour, by Chantal Akerman (1972), shot silently and brilliantly by Babette Mangolte, explores the corridors, lobby, elevators, and rooms of a cheap New York hotel. Occasionally the rooms' solitary occupants are glimpsed, but this only increases the overall atmosphere of eerie isolation and quiet, and reveals perhaps more than any other Akerman film how central an influence Edward Hopper has been in her work.

Je, tu, il, elle
Akerman's first feature-length film. A jittery young woman gradually gains experience and maturity in her travels around France.
The commas in the title suggest corporeal and spatial displacement, and this becomes the subject of Akerman’s narrative triptych. In intimate but enervating encounters, the director-actor attempts to locate a meaning in routine – first an insistence upon it, and then a decisive break. Made after her return from New York, it’s Akerman’s most affecting study of the self, particularly devastating because her on-screen persona’s attempt at emancipation only exacerbates the rootless, shifting ennui that haunts her. The first lines, “and then I left”, could just as well be its last.


Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Cinematographer Babette Mangolte described Jeanne Dielman as “a 40s story shot by a 70s camera,” and critic Manny Farber elaborated upon the camera’s subject, “space… as it becomes spiritualised and proliferates ideas”. That space is Jeanne’s (Delphine Seyrig) tidy, one-bedroom apartment, where she performs daily chores that Akerman felt the cinema had “devalued”. By placing the weight of uncompressed time onto each task – bed-making, potato-peeling, washing up – they become evidence of an unknowable psyche. Jeanne’s routine is so precise that a missed button becomes a forecast of doom, beginning a wrenching undoing of the clockwork pattern that had riveted the first half of this 200-minute masterwork.


Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - Extras:
Interview with Chantal Akerman
Featurette: Autour de Jeanne Dielman (1975-2004)


News from home
Akerman regularly incorporates letters into narrative, but News from Home, and the massively underseen Letters Home (1986), are her only epistolary films. Both projects explore the relationship between mother and daughter through readings of their correspondence, and as Akerman recites the messages her mother sent during a two-year sojourn in New York, images of the city unfurl in dry but mesmeric montage. It’s a deeply moving film – an archive of memories not only personal, but architectural, as News from Home is also one of the great portraits of pre-Giuliani New York.

Saute ma ville
In her blackly comic debut, Akerman plays a ‘Chaplinesque’ loner, shuffling through domestic mishaps in a fugue state. Just as an unhinged camera disrupts the spatial order of her kitchen, the increasingly frantic girl destroys a quotidian arsenal of objects – pots, pans, mops – which have shackled her gender for generations. A cartoon Smurf on the door orders “Go Home!”, and in the end, marking the first acknowledgment of her Jewish lineage (and conscience), she commits suicide by resting her head against an open gas hob.

La chambre
The camera goes around the room three times, starting at a table, and slowly making its way 360 degrees around the room.


Les rendez-vous d'Anna
An independent woman film-maker journeys through Germany, Belgium, and France, meeting a stream of friends, lovers, relatives, and strangers, and passing through alienating landscapes of anonymous hotel rooms, train stations, and cinemas.

Interview with Babette Mangolte
Interview with mother Natalia Akerman
Interview with Aurore Clement

Download Chantal Akerman Collection les Annees 70: Hotel Monterey (1973), Je tu il elle / I, You, He, She (1974), Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), News from Home (1977), Les rendez-vous d'Anna / Anna's Meetings (1978) 5 x DVD: