“This film is above all about my mother, my mother who is no longer with us. About this woman who arrived in Belgium in 1938 , fleeing Poland, the pogroms and the violence. This woman who is only ever seen inside her apartment (…). A film about a world in motion that my mother does not see.”
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Chantal Akerman basically created a new cinematic language in 1975 with JEANNE DIELMAN. 40 years later she concludes her film making career with a biographical verite document of her mother's last days, the mother who inspired her and inhabited her films; at the same time her own testament, a swan song calculated and executed brilliantly in her formal rigor, unadorned and rich and personal in its minimalist way.
Incredibly touching, I haven't felt so invested emotionally in a film for a while. It's a testament to Chantal's talent that scenes of stillness reverberate affection. It's so serene in its documentation of their relationship, which is even more affecting now since Chantal has passed. Rewarding way to end my year, a film with a slow beating pulse that makes you cry and smile.
Seeing it in a theater was a tremendous gift. Akerman means a great aching deal. There are sort of two things going on here. On the one hand we are looking at intimacy and pull - we often pull on those we love in our being pulled towards them. The way that we can pull on those we don't want to let go of is often merciless and heartbreaking. On the other hand there is the fluttering constancy of the immanent. Perfect.
It will be difficult to talk about this film without falling into emotional demagogy, so present in everyday life formatted by televisions. The deaths of the two real "characters", Akerman and her mother, can bring some resistance in its rejection as a cinematographic object, especially because it's banal and sometimes against the voluntariness of the portrayed. But the Skype moments are a beautiful disproportion.
While I wanted to leave the cinema the entire time I watched this film, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since, like some black ink has been injected into my bloodstream, and is slowly spreading.
Adieu Chantal Akerman. You will forever be remembered as a rebel and a genius. Your films will live on forever as some of the best ever made. No Home Movie, your swan song, is one of the most personal movies I have ever seen and in a way, is fitting as your final film, as it draws parallels to your two most iconic films, Jeanne Dielman & News From Home. Farewell Madam Maestro, you live through your films forever!