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Jefferson Root Written by Jefferson Root
May. 31, 2011 | 2:27 PM

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Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival Pick: CHANTAL ACKERMAN DE CA

Chantal Ackerman’s name may be less well known in the U.S. than some of her European contemporaries, but her work remains revered in dedicated film circles.  Inspired at an early age to take up filmmaking after encountering the New Wave works of Godard, Ackerman developed a style all her own.  Part avant-garde, part cinema verite, she produced a challenging series of works during the 70’s which reached a peak with 1975’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.  With a running time over three hours, Dielman’s meticulously observed portrait of a woman who goes above and beyond the call of her domestic employment in order to support her son remains required viewing for any true cinephile.

Ackerman has worked in a variety of genres, from experimental shorts to fiction to a brief flirtation with Hollywood.  In the new documentary,
Chantal Ackerman De Ca (Chantal Ackerman from Here), viewers are granted a rare glimpse into the director’s filmmaking process.  Clearly fans of Ackerman’s work themselves, co-directors Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Luiz Ferreira film their subject in her own trademark style, in one uninterrupted, elegantly framed take.  The interview is conducted in English, which results in a few stilted questions, but Ackerman’s charm and intelligence easily smooths over any rough spots.

Chantal Ackerman De Ca was a selection at the 2010 Viennale, and screens this Friday, June 3rd with Desassosego (Neverquiet), as part of the 3rd Annual Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival.  The festival runs from June 1st-4th in Hollywood at the Egyptian and Mann’s Chinese 6.  All films screening in the festival are North American premieres, and many of the films will feature post screening discussions with cast and crew members.  With the exception of the opening and closing night programs, admission to all films is free to the public.

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