Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

English

Second Major

History

First Advisor

Ken Eisenstein

Second Advisor

Erica Delsandro

Keywords

feminism, Chantal Akerman, feminist film theory, mirrors, avant-garde film, women's film, abstraction, gender

Abstract

Chantal Akerman writes, “she who seeks shall find, find all too well, and end up clouding her vision with her own preconceptions.”[1] This thesis addresses the films of Chantal Akerman from a theoretical feminist film perspective. There are many lenses through which Akerman’s rich body of work can be viewed, and I would argue that she herself never intended for it to be understood in just one way. I wish to situate Akerman’s films, in particular her 1974 Je, Tu, Il, Elle (1h 30m), within a discourse of other feminist film theorists and makers that were further rooted in the women's movement of the 1960s. Using this framework, I will argue that Akerman not only addressed the calls of these feminist scholars, but also exceeded their breadth, by drawing attention to, and working across, boundaries, in addition to dismantling patriarchal narrative conventions.

[1] Chantal Akerman “On D’Est.” In Bordering Fiction: Chantal Akerman’s “D’Est,” ed. Kathy Kalbreich and Bruce Jenkins. (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1995).

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