Chantal Anne Akerman, born June 6, 1950 and died October 5, 2015, Chantal was a Belgian film director, artist, and professor of film at the City College of New York.
Her best-known film is Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975).
According to film scholar Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Chantal’s influence of feminist filmmaking and avant-garde cinema has been substantial.
Chantal was born to an observant Jewish family in Brussels, Belgium.
Her grandparents and her mother were sent to Auschwitz; only her mother came back.
This is a very important factor in her personal experience. Her mother’s anxiety is a recurrent theme in her filmography.
Chantal claims that, at the age of 15, after viewing Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le fou (1965), Chantal decided, that same night, to make movies.
At 18, she entered the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des Techniques de Diffusion, a Belgian film school.
During her first term, however, Chantal chose to leave and make Saute ma ville, a thirteen-minute black-and-white picture in 35mm.
Chantal partially subsidized Saute ma ville by selling shares on the Antwerp diamond exchange, procuring its remaining budget through her clerical work.
In 1971, Saute ma ville premiered at the Oberhausen short-film festival. That year, she moved to New York, where she remained until 1972.
Chantal Akerman died at age 65 on October 5, 2015.