Chantal Akerman has apparently committed suicide.
These are my impromptu unrehearsed thoughts as the news of this tragic event has just hit the internet.
I swear to not edit the content (minus typos and grammatical errors) of this post afterwards. These thoughts pour out of me as I currently muse upon her death.
To say that this is another instance of “life imitating art” seems cliche and lazy. It would be a disservice to one of the most significant careers in the cinematic arts.
Her career, and “Jeanne Dielman” in particular, has been defined in terms of feminism; however, even as I have always been a fervent advocate of feminism, I believe that it is ultimately limiting to define her masterpiece as a feminist work. It is, first and foremost, a work of existentialism. It is the cinematic equivalent of “The Stranger” by Albert Camus.
No other cinematic work conveys the ennui and the hopelessness of the modern situation better than Akerman’s masterpiece. Of course, she made many fine works after this film, but it may be no exaggeration to say that all of her subsequent works are postscripts.