In this cinematic will and testament, Chantal Akerman, the Belgian structuralist who died in 2015, trains her hyperreal minimalist eye on her own mother. With the setting confined to a Brussels apartment, she shows the final months in the life of Natalia, a Polish-Jewish émigré and Auschwitz survivor, without directly relaying her life story or describing her relationships with her daughters outright. The film opens with an awe-inducing, several-minutes-long static take of a partially desiccated tree in a wasteland, tousled by wind gusts. Several times the camera returns to the desert as if to release the breath held back by an overabundance of emotions. A joyous atmosphere pervades a home lighted by the whiteness of furniture and walls. Intimate conversations between mother and daughter go from discussing the present toward the past, from amusing anecdotes to fatalistic conclusions. They touch on topics of importance in the director's work, such as home, emigration, identity, the female body - and point to the biographical source of these themes. As a counterpoint to No Home Movie critics suggest Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, the masterpiece of cinematic modernism, which Akerman made in her youth. Similarly to that film, here, the director also suggests that only precise observation of ostensible permanence can expose the decay of reality.
Seville European Film Festival 2015 - New Waves Non-Fiction Award
(1950 - 2015) Daughter of Jewish emigrants from Poland, was one of the most distinguished European avant-garde artists. She was influenced by the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard and relations with New York underground directors. There, impressed by the works of Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas and particularly Michael Snow, she made her first feature Hôtel Monterey (1972). Later on, in Europe, she directed feminist films, which experiment with narrative and are shot in slow rhythm with long takes.
1972 Hôtel Monterey
1974 Ja, ty, on, ona / Je, tu, il, elle / I, You, He, She,
1978 Spotkania Anny / Les Rendez-vous d’Anna / Meetings with Anna
1983 Un jour Pina a demandé / One Day Pina Asked Me
1989 Histoires d’Amérique / American Stories, Food, Family and Philosophy
1991 Nuit et jour / Night and Day
1996 Kanapa w Nowym Jorku / Un divan a New York / A Couch in New York
2000 Uwięziona / La captive / The Captive
2004 Jutro przeprowadzka / Demain on déménage / Tomorrow We Move
2011 Szaleństwo Almayera / La folie Almayer / Almayer’s Folly