Last Sunday, a week ago, on October 25 I organized a screening in Human Resources Los Angeles to commemorate the work of Chantal Akerman and mourn her loss.
I decided to show Saute Ma Ville (1968), Je Tu Il Elle (1976) and Toute une Nuit (1982).
Berenice Reynaud, who is the experience of film made flesh and was close to Chantal, made a beautiful and important introduction.
This the program text that I wrote:
“On Sunday October 25 we want to pay tribute to Chantal Akerman, a filmmaker that has changed our lives and our eyes to see cinema, to be cinema. We can’t believe and don’t want to accept her disappearance. We felt the need to mourn and homage her with a screening, in the silent social created before her images. We chose these three titles because they broke our hearts and shattered our gazes to what cinema had the power to do, a tool in the right hands. It also will give us a way into her many paces, rejoicing in her surgical cinematography.
Join us to say good bye to Chantal and long live her memory, her legacy made celluloid, taken by the hand of her strong, quiet heroines.”
This is one of the best things I’ve organized in my life. It is heartbreaking that the circumstances for an homage to her work had to be the ones that were, but people’s response in LA demonstrated that her legacy is alive, crisp and relevant as ever.
Being able to see Je Tu Ill Elle with over a hundred people in a room is an experience hard to describe.
Thank you to everyone that came that night out to be together in front of her cinema. Thanks Human Resources for being absolute game and allowing me to put the screening together so quickly in the best space possible for something like this. Thank you Berenice for your words and everything else.
One of those nights that helps you remember why we do what we do, even if the circumstances had to be so tragic.