Chantal Akerman

Born in Brussels, Belgium, Chantal Akerman (1950 - 2015) was a filmmaker whose work gave new meaning to the term "independent film." An Akerman film is an exercise in pure independence, creativity and art. Her viewers must give themselves over completely to the experience of her films and watch with open minds. Strong themes in her films include women at work and at home, women's relationships to men, women, and children, food, love, sex, romance, art and storytelling. Each Akerman film is a world to be explored on its own terms.

Her films are the subject of numerous books including Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster and Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everday by Ivone Margulies.

Chantal Akerman died in Paris, France, in 2015, having forever changed the history of cinema.

Icarus Films is proud to distribute eight films (and a 5-disc box set!) by Chantal Akerman, plus two documentaries on her life and work. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.

"Comparable in force and originality to Godard or Fassbinder, Chantal Akerman is arguably the most important European director of her generation." —J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Akerman the filmmaker came of age at the same time as the new age of feminism, and [her films] became key texts in the nascent field of feminist film theory. Feminism posed the apparently simple question of who speaks when a woman in film speaks (as character, as director ...); Akerman insisted convincingly that her films' modes of address rather than their stories alone are the locus of their feminist perspective. The many arguments about what form a 'new women's cinema' should take revolved around a presumed dichotomy between so-called realist (meaning accessible) and avant-garde (meaning elitist) work; Akerman's films rendered such distinctions irrelevant and illustrated the reductiveness of the categories." —Janet Bergstrom, Sight and Sound

"The films of Chantal Akerman are the single most important and coherent body of work by a woman director in the history of the cinema." —Film Center Gazette of the School of the Art Institute

"Chantal Akerman spoke to each of us, intimately, as if we were the only one in the room when she was talking to us, the only one in front of the projected image when we are in the theatre or the museum/gallery space where her installations are exhibited. [This] this is a cinema that burns in us, that lives in us, a cinema that we have inherited, a cinema that will continue through us. We are her orphans, but also her heirs." —Senses of Cinema


Narrative film adaptation by Chantal Akerman of Joseph Conrad's first novel, following a European man living in Southeast Asia and his half-indigenous daughter.

Chantal Akerman | 2016 | 127 minutes | Color | English; French | English subtitles

A self-portrait by experimental narrative and feminist Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman.

Chantal Akerman | 2001 | 64 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

Four documentaries spanning two decades are included in this 5-disc box set, with a 16-page booklet and bonus film about the late filmmaker.

Chantal Akerman | 2016 | 419 minutes | Color | English; French; Spanish | English subtitles

A conversation with Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman about her films and her directorial philosophy.

Gustavo Beck and Leonardo Luiz Ferreira | 2012 | 62 minutes | Color | English

Akerman spends a brief period on her own in an apartment by the sea in Tel Aviv, contemplating her family, her Jewish identity and her childhood.

Chantal Akerman | 2016 | 78 minutes | Color | English; French | English subtitles

Chantal Akerman retraces a journey from the end of summer to deepest winter, from East Germany, across Poland and the Baltics, to Moscow. "One of the 10 Best Films of the 1990s."— J. Hoberman, Artforum

Chantal Akerman | 2003 | 110 minutes | Color | No dialog

Using technology developed for the military, the flow of illegal immigration into San Diego has been stemmed. But for the desperate, there are still the dangerous deserts of Arizona, where Chantal Akerman shifts her focus.

Chantal Akerman | 2012 | 99 minutes | Color | Spanish | English subtitles

Explores the filmmaker's 40 plus films and charts the sites of her peregrinations.

Marianne Lambert | 2016 | 67 minutes | Color | English; French | English subtitles

In her essential final feature, Chantal Akerman documents her relationship with her mother, a Holocaust survivor.

Chantal Akerman | 2016 | 115 minutes | Color | English; French | English subtitles

Chantal Akerman follows choreographer Pina Bausch and her dance company on a European tour.

Chantal Akerman | 2013 | 57 minutes | Color | English; French | English subtitles

The heart of this journey is the brutal murder of James Byrd, Jr in Jasper, Texas. But this is not an anatomy of his murder, rather, it is an evocation of how this event fits in to a landscape and climate as much mental as physical.

Chantal Akerman | 2003 | 70 minutes | Color | English