Chantal Akerman's One Day Pina Asked…

Two features celebrating Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman are on tap next month at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with one-week exclusive runs. Akerman’s own One Day Pina Asked… will screen alongside Gustavo Beck and Leonardo Luiz Ferreira’s 2010 documentary Chantal Akerman, From Here beginning Friday, June 6.

Akerman’s 1983 spotlight on Pina Bausch in One Day Pina Asked… follows the legendary choreographer and her company of dancers, the Wuppertal Tanztheater, for five weeks as they Germany, France, and Italy. Akerman’s film is a journey into Bausch’s world, utilizing striking images and personal memories. The film originally opened in New York on July 7, 1989, and recently played to a sold-out audience at the 2014 Dance on Camera series. In addition to capturing the company’s rehearsals, One Day Pina Asked… assembles performance excerpts from signature works such as “Komm Tanz Mit Mir” (Come Dance with Me, 1977) and “Nelken” (Carnations, 1982). And Akerman applies her unique visual skills throughout to bring her enigmatic subject up close.

Writing about the film in The New Yorker, Richard Brody observed: “With her audacious compositions, decisive cuts and tightrope-tremulous sense of time—and her stark simplicity—it shares, in a way that Wenders film doesn’t, the immediate exhilaration of the moment of creation.”

Gustavo Beck and Leonardo Luiz Ferreira’s Chantal Akerman, From Here

Beck and Ferreira’s Chantal Akerman, From Here, meanwhile, is a look at the director, as she opens up about her body of work in an hour-long conversation. For the duration of the film, the camera holds steady from outside an open door. The long, unbroken shot and the frame-within-a-frame pay homage to Akerman’s own unmistakable style.

“I need a corridor. I need doors. Otherwise, I can’t work,” she says. But by shooting her in profile, the filmmakers provide a contrast to the signature frontality of her compositions (one of the many subjects covered in the wide-ranging interview)—an acknowledgement of this portrait’s contingency also underlined by the title.
Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1950, Chantal Akerman is a filmmaker whose work gives new meaning to the term “independent film.” An Akerman film is an exercise in pure independence, pure creativity, and pure art. The viewer must give him- or herself over completely to the experience of the film, to watch with open eyes and an open mind. To label Akerman’s work “minimalist” or “structuralist” or “feminist” is to miss most of what she is about. Strong themes in her films include women at work and at home, women’s relationships to men, other women, and children, food, love, sex, romance, art, and storytelling. Each Akerman film is a world unto itself and demands to be explored on its own terms. Her films are the subject of recent books including Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster and Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman’s Hyperrealist Everyday by Ivone Margulies.

For showtimes, tickets, and more information on the films, head to the New Releases section of our site.