Groundbreaking Feminist Filmmaker Chantal Akerman Dies at 65

Akerman, born to Polish Holocaust survivors, reportedly committed suicide in Paris.


Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman has died in Paris aged 65. Akerman, a daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland, was known for her experimental feminist films. 

According to French media, Akerman committed suicide, though the cause and exact date of her death are unknown, the New York Times reported. However, the Times reported that friends said Akerman has been recently hospitalized for depression, which started following her mother's death last year.

Born in 1950 in Brussels, Akerman was inspired to become a filmmaker after seeing Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou. Akerman's best-known work, the three-hour long "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles," was made in 1975 when she was 25. It follows a housewife in real time. According to Variety, it has been called one of the first and greatest feminist films. 

Among her others works, Akerman has also made an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's "Almayer's Folly," the more commercial "A Couch in New York," and a Marcel Proust adaptation, "The Captive."