Chantal Akerman Retrospective, Exhibitions, Events, Screenings, Books, ...

From March to July, BOZAR and CINEMATEK are hosting a joint retrospective of the life and work of Belgian film director Chantal Akerman. BOZAR will host a major exhibition Chantal Akerman: Travelling, and CINEMATEK will present a full restrospective, in which many of her collaborators participate as guests, complemented by a selection of films that were important to her. As a partner in this retrospective, Sabzian will present a trilingual Collection of texts in French, English, and Dutch by and on Akerman on 13 March, combining texts that are already available on the website with new publications in the coming weeks, alongside a complete overview of Chantal Akerman’s filmography. As one of the most defining directors of her generation, Sabzian has devoted considerable attention/recognition to her distinctly singular oeuvre. To honour her contribution to Belgian cinema, this Collection hopes to reflect that effort.

Fondation Chantal Akerman - © Micheline Pelletier / Gamma
Fondation Chantal Akerman © Micheline Pelletier / Gamma


On 26 March, Cinema RITCS organizes a lecture on the cinema of Chantal Akerman, given/provided by Anke Brouwers. The lecture will be followed by a filmscreening of La Captive (2000) and a short Q&A. This is part of a larger initiative ‘The Power of Belgian Cinema’. Access the full programme here.

The exposition, Chantal Akerman: Travelling,  running from March 14th to July 21st, outlines her accomplishments through the years as an artist from her humble beginnings in Brussels to her time in New York and to the Mexican desert. BOZAR bundles seven installations from Akerman's iconic D'Est; au bord de la fiction to her last masterpiece Now. The exposition also showcases never-before-seen images and working documents from her archive, displaying Akerman’s diverse repertoire of film, television, text and installation art. More information here. A modified version of the exhibition will also be presented at the Jeu de Paume, Paris from September 28, 2024, to January 19, 2025. 

The retrospective opens with a film concert on 14 March, a co-production with Klarafestival. Cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton and pianist Sarah Rothenberg (piano) will present a concert accompanying Chantal Akerman’s D’Est (1993). This film captures the reality of former Soviet areas after the fall of the Berlin wall. Upon hearing Rachmaninov’s cello sonata in the background during a screening of a passage from the film, Sonia Wieder-Atherton devised the idea to meld the images and the music into a captivating cinema concert. Together with Chantal Akerman she places the musical works of Schnittke, Martinü, Chopin and other Russian/Eastern European composers in dialogue with the film D’Est to create a unique work of art. More details here.

FOMU already kicked off this tribute last October by organising a group exhibition Her Voice - Echoes of Chantal Akerman, presenting photographic and video works by seven contemporary artists inspired by the work of the Belgian filmmaker. Those artists include Manon de Boer, Moyra Davey, Collier Schorr, Carmen Winant, Joanna Piotrowska, Frida Orupabo and Gabby Laurent. Each of their works draw on personal experiences and offer reflections about family, trauma, intimacy, sex and oppression, all central to Akerman’s radically vulnerable and groundbreaking approach to film (and art) in the 1970s. The exhibition runs until 10 March 2024.

On 16 April, Niña Weijers will also give a talk at BOZAR about Akerman and her own work. The Dutch writer – known for her novels such as Kamers antikamers and De consequenties – also wrote the foreword for Mijn moeder lacht, Chantal Akerman’s childhood memoir and how her relationship with her mother influenced her as a filmmaker.


The Dutch book series Denken in het donker continues to release new collections that look at a filmmaker's work from a philosophical perspective. A new edition on Chantal Akerman just hit the shelves. Philosophers Petra Van Brabandt, Dominiek Hoens, Karel Pletinck and Michael Van Remoortere discuss the ideas behind films such as Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Saute ma ville and documentaries such as No Home Movie. Denken in het donker met Chantal Akerman will already be the sixth volume in the series after collections on Richard Linklater, Andrei Tarkovsky, the Coen brothers, Sofia Coppola and Agnès Varda. 

In our last New Book Releases, we also announced that L’Arachnéen will publish the writings of Chantal Akerman, edited by Cyril Béghin. On March 15, her oeuvre will be published as Chantal Akerman - Oeuvre crite et parlée, in the form of three volumes brought together in a box set: two chronological volumes (1968-1991 and 1991-2015) strictly devoted to Akerman’s texts, including screenplays (half of which are for unrealized films), synopses, notes of intent, texts for the voice-overs, preparatory and set photographs, but also interviews, working documents, all essentially unpublished. They will also include four works she published: the theatre play Halle de nuit (1992), two novels, Une famille à Bruxelles (1998) and Ma mère rit (2013), and the autobiography, Le Frigidaire est vide. On peut le remplir (from Autoportrait en cineaste, 2004). The third volume will take the form of a critical edition by the editor Cyril Béghin with a chronology and detailed notes for each of Akerman's texts, as well as annexes (filmography, list of installations and bibliography). Here, you can leaf through the table of content of the three volumes and get a glimpse of the cover. The publication of Chantal Akerman: Œuvre écrite et parlée will coincide with numerous events during the retrospective.

Finally, in conjunction with the Chantal Akerman: Travelling exhibition, Bozar and Jeu de Paume will publish the exhibition catalogue in collaboration with Lannoo Publishers.


In light of this retrospective, the Belgian streaming platform Avila will soon make three extra films available by Akerman – De l'autre côté, Sud, and D'est – on their website. At the moment, you can stream No Home Movie, Golden Eighties, Toute une nuit, Les rendez-vous d'Anna, Jeanne Dielman, La chambre, and her debut Saute ma ville. Sabzian and Avila already partnered to bring film programmes linked to unique text material on Sabzian in the format of Seuls, reflecting a diversity of Belgian cinema.

CINEMATEK will present Chantal Akerman's complete filmography in the months to come. On Friday 15 March, the retrospective starts with four of her short films. These short films - unknown until recently - were shot on 8mm during the summer of 1967 and presented as entrance exam at the INSAS in September. They precede the director's first known film in her established filmography, Saute ma ville (1968), and will be shown in the presence of Chantal's sister Sylviane Akerman, Tomas Leyers and Delphine Houba. “Nothing moved me more than the 4 four-minute films that Chantal Akerman shot in 1967 - a year before Saute ma ville - as her application to the INSAS in Brussels,” affirms Pedro Costa in an interview with Films in Frame. These short films will be accompanied by a restored version of her debut, and of her second feature L'enfant aimé (1971), in which Akerman experiments with the long take.

Some outtakes from the upcoming screenings at CINEMATEK are the following:

On Monday 18 March, a screening of Sharon Lockhart's Eventide (2022) will be followed by a conversation between the director and artist, and Anouk De Clercq, artist, filmmaker and founding member of the Auguste Orts collective. They both contributed to the publication of the exhibition Chantal Akerman: Travelling.

On Thursday, March 21, Federico Rossin, a film historian, lecturer, and freelance festival programmer, will provide a lecture in French titled ‘Ciné-conférence: Akerman Underground’ on Akerman's first encounter with experimental cinema in the 1970s.

On Sunday, March 24, a similar conversation titled ‘On Experimental Cinema and Jeanne Dielman’ will follow between Patricia Canino, a filmmaker, photographer, and the editor of Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, and Wouter Hessels from the RITCS/INSAS.

On March 28, 30, and Wednesday the 3rd of April, a presentation of Chantal Akerman, Oeuvre écrite et parlée, the nearly 1,600-page sum of the filmmaker's written work, will be followed by a screening of three short films made by Werner Schroeter in 1968 about the singer Maria Callas. The screenings will take place in the presence of Cyril Béghin – the author of the book – and Luana Thomas.

Charlotte Wynant contributes to the conversation on Thursday 11 April with a lecture on minimalism, called News from Home in Context: Minimalist Reverberations in Chantal Akerman's Cinema. On Thursday 18 April, Stoffel Debuysere and Paul Hegarty will converse about sound, noise and “slow sound” in the Akerman’s films of the 1970s. 

Following a screening of Toute une nuit (1982) on the 21st of April, there will be a conversation between Caroline Champetier, director of photography for the film, and Wouter Hessels. 

On Wednesday 24 April there will be a talk about the restoration of the films of Chantal Akerman, carried out by Bruno Mestdagh and Tomas Leyers from CINEMATEK, to whom she had entrusted her work, together with Céline Brouwez, who is the coordinator behind the Chantal Akerman Foundation. Akerman began the restoration herself in 2013 and was continued by the CINEMATEK team.

Laura Mulvey will be present for a screening of Riddles of the Sphinx by herself and Peter Wollen on Friday 10 May. This film is renowned for the male gaze concept she developed in her 1975 essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which examines the position of women in patriarchal society. The film attempts to break down the conventional narrative structures used in traditional media.

On Thursday, May 30, a conversation between Luc Benhamou, film cinematographer, and Sonia Wieder-Atherton, cellist and Akerman’s lifelong partner, moderated by Sarah Pialeprat, director of BAFF and the Centre du Film sur l’Art, will take place.


In 2017, the Chantal Akerman Foundation launched a website where you can find more information on the work of Chantal Akerman. Keep an eye on their website and our news letter to receive regular updates about future events throughout the duration of the retrospective.

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