Class Four: News From Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977, USA)

By Akerman

The entirety of Akerman’s filmography is highly recommended, but since time is of the essence, why not begin with La Chambre (1972), an experimental film she made in New York, perhaps during the time when she was receiving the letters from her mother that appear in News From Home (1977).

But if you really want to experience Akerman, watch her Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai de commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which she made in Belgium just prior to News From Home. Unlike the city spaces of the later film, Jeanne Dielman restricts its action to the eponymous character’s apartment.

Finally, in the final years of her life, Akerman made No Home Movie (2016), a documentary film about her mother. It is, for obvious reasons, an incredible film to watch alongside News From Home.

 On Akerman

Perhaps the place to start is with the Guardian obituary for Akerman, written by Jonathan Romney as it provides a good short overview of her life and career.

From there check out Michael Koresky’s booklet notes for the Criterion collection of 70s Akerman films of which News From Home is a part. And, as you might expect for such a key filmmaker, there is a rich variety of critical writing on her films as well. The ever-brilliant Film Studies for Free compiled an extraordinary list of writings on Akerman in the days following her death. Also check out Kate Rennebohm’s reflection on Akerman’s life and work in CinemaScope.

An excellent scholarly resource is Ivone Margulies’s Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman’s Hyperrealist Everyday, published by Duke UP way back in 1996.

There’s now also a documentary on Akerman titled I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (Marianne Lambert, 2016).


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