Chantal Akerman was born in Brussels on 6 June 1950. At the age of 15, she discovers Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou by chance, which inspired her to take up filmmaking. Entering the Brussels film school (INSAS) in 1967, she left straight away, rejecting the rigid framework of the school. The following year she made her first short film, Saute ma ville, first expression of a free and radical cinema. Akerman moved to New York in the early 1970s, where she discovered the experimental cinema of Jonas Mekas and Michael Snow, which had a profound influence on the films she made there (La Chambre, Hotel Monterey).
On her return to Belgium, she directed Je, tu, il, elle and then raised the necessary funds to produce Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. This film about the daily life of a housewife, an essential piece of feminist cinema and presented at the Cannes Fortnight in 1975, brought her international recognition and remains a major cinematic experiment in the history of cinema, studied and admired for decades. In December 2022, the film was named the best film of all time by the British magazine Sight&Sound.
An indefatigable artist, Akerman traces her path freely, exploding narrative and geographical boundaries to wander between genres, tackling in turn fiction, documentary, musical comedy and literary adaptation.
Her filmography numbers some fourty films and has been widely shown and acclaimed throughout the world. Chantal Akerman is considered one of the most important and influential European directors of her generation, thanks to her modernity, her visionary treatment of images, time and space, and the reflections that run through her films (on identity, belonging, memory, feminism, gender and sexuality).
Alongside her films, Chantal Akerman has closely blended film and video creation, producing installations from 1995 onwards, exhibited all over the world in major art institutions. A close friend of the written word, she is also the author of several books.
Chantal Akerman passed away in 2015, but she remains an invaluable influence on filmmakers such as Gus Van Sant, Tsai Ming-Liang, Todd Haynes, Kelly Reichardt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Céline Sciamma and Alice Diop.
CINEMATEK — the Film Archive of Belgium — is itself a non-profit Foundation. For many years Chantal Akerman was a member of its Board of Directors, and which she had entrusted with the conservation of her cinematographic works and their restoration. The foundation has joined force with CINEMATEK to ensure the preservation and restoration of Chantal Akerman’s films and work archives.
Conserved at CINEMATEK, the paper and photographic archives of Chantal Akerman and Paradise Films are currently being catalogued, organized and digitized.
All Chantal Akerman’s installations are Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris, London and Chantal Akerman Foundation.
Fondation Chantal Akerman c/o CINEMATEK
3, Rue Ravenstein B-1000 Brussels
Subscribe to our Newsletter by filling in this form.
If you have any further questions for or about the Fondation Chantal Akerman, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any request about Chantal Akerman’s works, you can contact the foundation at: email@example.com
For any research request, you can contact the archives at: firstname.lastname@example.org