News from Home
Describing the inspiration for News from Home, Chantal Akerman explained how, flying into New York City, she was struck by the contrast between the immensity of the city and the detailed intimacy of her mother’s letters sent from Belgium. Beautifully filmed by Babette Mangolte, New York, imposing and anonymous, serves as the visual counterpoint to Akerman’s reading of her mother’s words. Occasionally overwhelmed by urban clamor, her persevering plaint evokes presence and absence, distance and proximity, and how it feels to hover in between. For Akerman, “It’s a film about being off-center . . . it’s like a hold that is slipping.”
Measures of Distance
Mona Hatoum, United Kingdom, 1988
Letters sent to the artist in Britain from her mother in Beirut speak of exile and displacement.