Previously at the ICA - Films

Chantal Akerman, A L'est avec Sonia Wider-Atherton, 2002

A Nos Amours: Chantal Akerman 22: Avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton + A l'est avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton

16 Jul 2015

Nothing from a filmmaker as great as Akerman is ever trivial.

We believe these films have never been seen in the UK, and yet they are indelibly the work of Akerman. Music, and musical thinking, is always at the heart of Akerman's practice, and here she makes music the centre stage subject, in homage to her friend and collaborator. But there may yet also be a reparative purpose.

Avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton

The great cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton has been present in much of Akerman’s work since the 1980s, whether on soundtracks (a great  number), as a protagonist (in Rue Mallet-Stevens), and in this case as subject of an extended documentary showcase. In the traditional manner of French television cultural documentation, we begin with a voice over from the filmmaker, situating and describing her subject. Following this Wider-Atherton takes over the narrative, sitting before the camera for an extended presentation of her life and art. Of particular relevance, given her relationship with Akerman, are her thoughts on interaction and exchange between artists.

Following this, Akerman moves her camera around as music is made, creating lovely views and angles and framings at will.

The music played includes a Jewish folk tune, Monteverdi, Janáček, Berio, Schubert, and not least Wieder-Atherton’s famed partnership with the British pianist Imogen Cooper to play Brahms.

Perfomers: Sonia Wider-Atherton (cello), Imogen Cooper (piano), Sarah Iancu (violin), Matthieu Lejeune (violin)

Avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton, dir. Chantal Akerman, 2002, 52 mins

A l'est avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton parts 1&2 (In the East with Sonia Wieder-Atherton)

Sonia Wieder-Atherton announces her programme: to gather music from the east of Europe, from Mitteleuropa. First she reveals her approach to curation, to orchestration and arrangement. The composers she chooses and arranges include Rachmaninov, Dohnanyi, Tcherepnin, Franck Krawczyk, Martinu, Mahler and Martinů.

If these works have anything in common, it is above all a sense of longing, a honeyed lyricism that evokes distant horizons and resignation. Akerman is content to find a series of angles and to edit as little as necessary, above all to limit her presence. This is a tender offering. Wider-Atherton is a remarkable cellist. The plangent tone of the cello must bring tears to any eye.

In some ways this is a recovery, or reconfiguration, of Europe as a site of culture and expression, rather than as as site of devastation, pogrom and Shoah. 

Performers: Sonia Wieder-Atherton, Cyril Dupuy and others.

A l'est avec Sonia Wieder-Atherton parts 1&2,  dir. Chantal Akerman, 2009, 44+ 42 mins

Picturehouse Members’ Offer

Picturehouse Members can receive £7 tickets (usually £11) to A Nos Amours: Chantal Akerman Retrospective screenings with the Picturehouse offer code (please see Picturehouse social media channels). This discount is available for two tickets per customer and can be booked online, over the phone or in person. You must present a valid Picturehouse membership card when collecting tickets.

This screening is part of the Chantal Akerman retrospective presented by A Nos Amours.

The ICA Cinema is now completely ad-free. Please note the feature will start following a selection of trailers and information relevant to the ICA programme. All films are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

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