A Filmmaker’s Final Words

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My Mother Laughs
by Chantal Akerman
Translated by Corina Copp
The Song Cave. 173 pages. $20.

 

CHANTAL AKERMAN’S memoir My Mother Laughs is similar to her films: layered, defying time and space, concerned with the quotidian. Her work is woman-centered, often lesbian-centered, and focused on describing the position of women in society, including how the oppressive forces of patriarchy inflict both physical and emotional trauma on women. This memoir chronicles her experience of witnessing her mother’s death. The life of her mother Natalia (Nelly), a Holocaust survivor, is a theme that runs through much of Akerman’s works. It was an intense but anguished relationship.

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Irene Javors is a frequent contributor to The G&LR.

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