Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker and artist widely considered a leading light of experimental European cinema, and a defining influence on countless directors, has died at the age of 65.
Born in 1950, Akerman’s most famous work is 1975’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Jeanne Dielman is a real-time study of a middle-aged widow (Delphine Seyrig) who lives with her teenage son in a small Brussels flat. The film follows her as she completes drab domestic tasks and tries to make ends meet through occasional prostitution. The New York Times called it “the first masterpiece of the feminine in the history of the cinema”.
Watch a brief clip of Akerman discussing her work in the 2009 documentary The Art of Time:
Akerman also served on film festival juries and lectured widely, in 2011, she joined the staff of New York’s City College full time. Her final film, the documentary No Home Movie, is scheduled to screen at the New York Film Festival tomorrow, October 7.