The captured everyday life : Akerman and the politics of representation

Fatehrad, Azadeh (2016) The captured everyday life : Akerman and the politics of representation. In: After Chantal : An International Conference; 04 - 06 Nov 2016, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


This paper aims to reflect on the complex thematic and artistic language of the late Chantal Akerman. To this effect, this paper addresses three controversial films by Akerman, I, You, He, She (1974), News from Home (1977) and No Home Movie (2015) to highlight what is an extraordinary use of everyday life and displacement in the director's work. The shifting pattern and transition between urban and domestic settings that is produced by this particular sequence of films enables a more micro focus on the fictional and documentary representations. By combining the analytical, personal and political, this paper adopts a new and innovative way of looking at Akerman’s works in a coherent and sequential manner, as part of a larger narrative. This paper also explores the controversial positioning of the audience in selected sequences and not only establishes a critical viewpoint on the produced films but also addresses the unseen elements behind the camera - the selected frames, mise-en-scène, the lighting, the sounds and noises. These elements together shape the poetic language in Akerman’s works and differentiate her from other practitioners. Finally, this paper touches upon the understanding of Akerman’s artistic language by the new artist generation. This is achieved through various case studies including interviews with graduate students presenting their final shows, something which is designed to draw a bigger picture of what has essentially become a fragmented version of Akerman’s artistic language on the theme of everyday life. This brief reflection offers an insight into the ever-changing process of artistic film while highlighting the permanent elements that have been preserved through Akerman’s landmark works.

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