Beyond Herself: Auto-Perception and Portraiture in Cinema & the Moving Image
Sensorily inscribed within the three films that this talk explores – Chantal Akerman’s 2015 No Home Movie, Michael Haneke’s 2012 Amour and Philip Hoffman’s 2001 What These Ashes Wanted – are experiences of abandonment and home, illness and mourning. And yet, poignantly persistent throughout these films are also transient flashes and images of enduring life and duration that emerge via instances of filmic self-portraiture and self-perception. These moments function as various temporal cracks or materialised disruptions. As these instances render visible invisible strains and dimensions of pain, grief and loss, these films embody living, lasting portraits of both the deceased and the ‘living’ (the late filmmaker/motherless daughter, grieving partner, beleaguered widower) that attest not only to cruel actual separations between loved ones but also an endless process of distanciation from one’s former self. The brief filmic fissures reveal possibilities for difference as they envision alternative trajectories and futures for the women of the films. As this talk details, these suggestive, momentary glimpses of other worlds within the films effect reverberations that long linger. Through an auto-perceptive screen, these processes materialise, fragment and liberate these already dead and endlessly dying women.
Respondent: Wolfram Nitsch (Köln)