Marion Schmid
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The 1970s
Anatomy of an avant-garde
in Chantal Akerman
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The late 1960s and 1970s, during which Chantal Akerman established herself as a leading independent director, can be treated as a discrete period in her oeuvre. It bore thematic focus on various forms of minority culture and its crystallisation of an aesthetic indebted to experimental film practices. This chapter discusses her rich output in this period in the artistic and cultural contexts in which it emerged and against which it was subsequently assessed, most importantly experimental film, performance art and feminism. Each of her films in this period can be considered as an example of a 'critical cinema'. The chapter discusses Saute ma ville, Hotel Monterey, La Chambre, and Je tu il elle, among several other films. The combination of a greater emphasis on narrative and a style still indebted to avant-garde film practices paves the way for the exuberant experiments of the 1980s.

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