The late, great Belgian filmmaker and cultural nomad Chantal Akerman crafts a moving portrait of her relationship with her housebound mother, an Auschwitz survivor whose chronic anxiety greatly shaped her daughter’s art.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
“Shuttling among fiction, adaptation, documentary, and essay film, the late Chantal Akerman created one of the most original, daring, and influential oeuvres in film history… Akerman’s final film No Home Movie is a sober, profoundly moving portrait of the filmmaker’s mother Natalia in the months leading up to her death, when she was mostly confined to her Brussels apartment. A Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz, Natalia suffered from chronic anxiety all her life, an affliction that fuelled much of her daughter’s creative output and helped shape Akerman’s thematic preoccupations with gender, sex, cultural identity, existential ennui, solitude, and mania.
Deceptively radical, No Home Movie gradually reveals the torrents of emotion beneath the seemingly quotidian exchanges between Akerman and her mother, as the filmmaker tries to extract Natalia’s harrowing life story before that knowledge becomes irretrievable… This final testament from one of our greatest filmmakers is both a masterful treatise on space and time and an immensely moving chronicle of a fraught but deeply loving mother-daughter relationship.” — Andréa Picard, Toronto International Film Festival
“As great films do, No Home Movie revivifies its subjects in order to share with us a primal truth about mortality and the mothers who live in us – whether we like it or not – from our first breath to our last.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment