Dienstag, 6. Oktober 2015

Remembering Chantal Akerman

I am shocked with grief as I learn that Chantal Akerman took her own life yesterday in Paris. It must have been in 2001 or 2002 that I went to see, with fascinated captivation, almost all of her films in Berlin when the Kino Arsenal showed a full retrospective of her oeuvre. I remember "Jeanne Dielman" of course, the movie for which she is rightfully famous, but also wonderful gems like "Nuit et Jour", "Les années 80" and many others. A Google search turned up a spiteful article about her last film, "No Home Movie", which was presented this summer at the film festival in Locarno, by the critic of the Zurich daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The writer complains that during the first five minutes the film shows  "nothing more than a windswept bush in the desert", scolds Akerman for "playing to the gallery in such a self-satisfied and egomaniacal way" and concludes: "Who wants to see such a thing?". The film is a dialogue with her mother, an Auschwitz survivor, who died in 2014, as Tjark Kunstreich writes in his short obituary. I found this clip from the movie on You Tube, and recognized the room in her mother's Brussels apartment as the kitchen from "Saute ma ville", Akerman's very first film from 1968, in which a young woman, played by Akerman herself, blows herself up in it. So her last film is linked to her first one.

Seeing Chantal Akerman's films, her esthetic struck me as always playing with the balance between the difficulty of self-exploration and the effortlessness of beauty. She came on the first evening of her retrospective, presenting her new film "La Captive", an interpretation of Marcel Proust's "La Prisonnière". Seeing her in person, I was very much intrigued and charmed by her, and had the strange feeling which I cannot explain that she was someone familiar to me. After the screening, there was celebration with drinks in the hall of the Arsenal, and I sat down in a corner with two chairs. My heart then pulsed as I saw, of all people, Chantal Akerman coming towards me and sitting down in the chair next to me! She looked tired. I searched my mind for something to say and came up with some lame question about what her next projects were. She replied calmly and politely. I don't remember what happened then. On my way home I thought that it would be great to meet her again and have a conversation. It is with great sadness that I now realize that this will not happen. Sometimes you must be present at the significant moment, because there will be no second time.

Dienstag, 25. März 2014

canned hate

It's the green self-hatred oozing out. He tries to keep the lid closed. Subject matter kind of gruesome, so I tried to make the colors appealing at least.


Sonntag, 23. Juni 2013

Tee im Haus des Salamanders

The knight is invited for tea at the salamander's house. They are both happy to see each other again. The knight has seen quite a bit on his long travels, and the salamander is a polite and patient listener.


Samstag, 22. Juni 2013

jetz beruich dich ma

That little rambunctuous monster inside him incessantly claimed for entertainment.