News from Home
Jon Davies is a student in the PhD program in art history at Stanford University and has worked as a contemporary art curator. His book about Paul Morrissey’s Trash was published by Arsenal Pulp Press.
Chantal Akerman’s mother was a profound influence on the filmmaker throughout her career and occupies the heart of Akerman’s most personal works. Describing the inspiration for News from Home, 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. Beautifully filmed by Babette Mangolte, New York, imposing and anonymous, serves as the visual counterpoint to Akerman’s reading of her mother’s gentle words. Occasionally overwhelmed by urban clamor, her persevering plaint evokes presence and absence, distance and proximity, and how it feels to hover in between.
Chantal Akerman, Belgium, United States, 1972
This structural film/hide-and-seek consists of a continuous 360-degree pan around a New York City apartment intermittently inhabited by the artist herself. Akerman’s nod to Michael Snow deftly displays her knack for visual comedy and fascination with framing domestic space.