This article addresses the ever-present theme of mother-daughter relations that pervades the films of Chantal Akerman. It haunts all of Akerman's work, a fact she has never tried to hide and which she admitted directly to the author of this article in a discussion at the Pompidou Center on June 7, 2011: “The only subject of my films is my mother.” Araujo examines three dominant motifs as they relate to the larger theme of the mother in a selection of Akerman's films that span her life's work: playacting, the mother and the world, and the mother and the night.
Chantal Akerman, between the Mother and the World
Mateus Araujo teaches Film Studies at University of São Paulo (Brazil). He is the co-editor, with Dominique Bax and Cyril Béghin, of Glauber Rocha/Nelson Rodrigues (Magic Cinema, 2005), and the author of Jean Rouch: Retrospectivas e Colóquios no Brasil (Balafon, 2010), Straub-Huillet (Balafon, 2012), and Charles Chaplin (Balafon, 2012). He curated the retrospectives Jacques Rivette: já não somos inocentes (2013) and Godard inteiro ou o mundo em pedaços (2015) at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB). He is currently completing a new book on Glauber Rocha.
Mark Cohen teaches French, Literature, and Philosophy, most recently in the Hunter College Athena Program (CUNY). His translation of major texts by Montaigne, Descartes, and Pascal, The French Roots of Modern Thought, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
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Mateus Araujo, Mark Cohen; Chantal Akerman, between the Mother and the World. Film Quarterly 1 September 2016; 70 (1): 32–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.70.1.32
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