Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tribute to Chantal Akerman at the 18th Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)

In light of the tragic death of filmmaker Chantal Akerman, the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal / Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will pay tribute to the distinguished member of the cinema community. Her final film, No Home Movie, presented in the official competition at the Locarno Festival this summer, will be screened at this November’s RIDM, as will a portrait of the director, I Don't Belong Anywhere - Le cinéma de Chantal Akerman, directed by Marianne Lambert, who will attend the festival. Festivalgoers will also have the chance to rediscover Akerman’s De l’autre côté, her 2002 documentary about Mexican migrants.

In No Home Movie, Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, whose previous films include Je, tu, il, elle (1975), Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) and La captive (2000), filmed a portrait of her now deceased mother. Echoing News From Home (1977), in which the director filmed New York while reading letters, in voiceover, from her mother in Brussels, No Home Movie signals Akerman’s return to documentary and to the mother figure. Filming the old woman in her waning years, in her Brussels apartment or through a Skype window, this time the director puts her mother, a survivor of the death camps whose chronic anxiety haunts her work, at the centre of the film. Discreetly resting the camera on a piece of furniture, she observes, in long static takes, her mother’s repetitive and isolated everyday life – recalling Jeanne Dielman – as well as the mingled tenderness and malaise of the mother-daughter relationship. Although solemn and calm, the film nevertheless makes us experience death as a devastating wave.

In addition, I Don't Belong Anywhere - Le cinéma de Chantal Akerman, by Marianne Lambert, will have its North American premiere at the RIDM, as further tribute to the life and work of an exceptional filmmaker. From the money she carefully saved from a job as a cashier in a gay porn theatre to make her first feature, La chambre, in 1972; to her deep, nurturing relationship with her mother, who inspired her landmark film Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; to the failure of her Divan à New York and her thoughts on Brussels and New York, the filmmaker confides everything to the attentive camera of Marianne Lambert. Complemented by excerpts from her films and interviews with her editor and with Gus Van Sant, I Don’t Belong Anywhere is a portrait and a tribute to an artist who made time the true backbone of cinema.

Lastly, in collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise, there will be a special screening of De l’autre côté (2002), one of the films in Akerman’s documentary tetralogy (with D’est, Sud and Là-bas). The audience will re(discover) the director’s perspective on Mexicans trying to reach the United States – a subject that remains as topical as ever.

Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festival presents the best reality-based films, including the works of established directors and new talents.

The 18th edition of the RIDM will take place from November 12 to 22, 2015.
The RIDM’s complete program will be announced on Tuesday, October 20.

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