Marion Schmid
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The multiple faces of Chantal Akerman
in Chantal Akerman
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One of Europe's most acclaimed and prolific contemporary directors, Chantal Akerman is one director notoriously difficult to classify. Akerman came to prominence with Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Her films of the 1970s most strongly epitomise minority position, although the themes of exile and alterity are present in virtually all of her output and resurface strongly in the 1990s, especially in her documentary work. This chapter pays close attention to her evolving film style, and pays tribute to the social, ideological and ethical ramifications of her prolific oeuvre. Her intransigent avant-garde style, manifest even in her more mainstream works, in its problematisation of questions of perception, representation and spectatorship, is a direct correlate of as well as an instrument for the profound questions raised by her work. Whilst greatest attention is given to works that are readily accessible, the chapter also discusses lesser-known films from archives.

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