Chantal Akerman, figurehead of modern cinema
Chantal Akerman was born to a Polish Jewish family in Brussels in 1950 and died in Paris in 2015. She was a famous film director who decided to take up the profession when she saw Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou. Chantal Akerman was supported by André Delvaux when she made her first film, Saute ma ville (1968), and she herself became a major influence for many other film directors, including Gus van Sant and Michael Haneke.
After a short period at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle, and directing L'enfant aimé ou je joue à être une femme mariée (1971), Chantal Akerman left for New York, where she often visited the Anthology Film Archives, discovering American experimental cinema that featured characters such as Michael Snow, Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas. Having directed a number of films and living between Paris (La Chambre (1972); Hôtel Monterey) and New York (American Stories (1988); A Couch in New York (1996)), she decided to return to more intimate themes.
Akerman's cinema is profound, dealing primarily with personal and intimate subjects, and is influenced by her family history and her relationship with Judaism. She was also influenced by great film directors such as Godard and Warhol; the former made her want to direct her first feature-length film and the latter gave her her experimental side.
Despite her lack of public success, Akerman created a unique body of work, which left its mark on generations of film-lovers and professionals alike.
The Belgian filmmaker was recently honoured by internet giant Google. As you may have seen, Google regularly replaces its logo by a doodle that puts a special day or person in the spotlights. Such a doodle was dedicated to Chantal Akerman. Google honoures Akerman exactly 43 years after the premiere of her masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The doodle was thus meant to make everyone more familiar with her works.