Friday, August 2, 2019 (7:30pm)
5213 Grays Ave. Rm. 228
Only twenty-one and living in the United States away from her home in Belgium, Chantal Akerman received letter upon letter from her mother in Brussels. Although the experience was hugely formative, it was in New York that Akerman first encountered the filmmakers of the American underground, the distance, both geographic and cultural, revealed itself to her clearly.
She returned to New York in 1976 and teamed with Babette Mangolte to film a portrait of cultural and physical distance between Europe and the United States. Shooting in empty subway stations, alleys, and nighttime streets, with the letters from her mother recited in voiceover, Akerman shows that the European ideal of America is not what really exists here.
Almost forty years later, Akerman published her memoir “My Mother Laughs” reflecting on her relationship with her mother amid her failing health. The memoir was published in a new English translation by Corina Copp in June, 2019.