My Mother Laughs by Chantal Akerman

My Mother Laughs by Chantal Akerman

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In this unforgettable and moving memoir, the last book written before her death, the legendary film director Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) blends her matter-of-fact writing style with family photographs and stills from her own films in order to better describe and speak toward the most tender of human elements: her family, her lovers, and, most urgently, the deterioration of her mother’s health along with her own mental health.

While addressing universal experiences–the pain found woven into love, the end of relationships, difficult family histories, self-doubt, the end of life–Akerman‘s sharp eye toward memory raises questions about what it means to love and care for oneself and for another, and in the end, what the personal cost of those decisions can be.

"With pride because I finally believed in my ability to say something that I’d had trouble saying. I told myself, I am strong for once, I speak. I tell the truth."


Chantal Akerman was a Belgian film director, screenwriter, artist, and professor. She is best known for her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which was dubbed a "masterpiece" by the New York Times. During her 42 years of active filmmaking, Akerman's influence on queer, feminist, and avant-garde cinema remains unmatched, her films highlighting a near physical passage of time.