Chantal Akerman’s early films on Hulu

Delphine Seyrig in Chantal Akerman's landmark 'Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles'

Chantal Akerman may be the most influential contemporary filmmaker you’ve never heard of. At the age of 25 she made her landmark film Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), a 200 minute movie where (as critics are so fond of saying) nothing happens, at least nothing that we are used to seeing on screen.

Her interest in cinema began when she saw Godard’s Pierrot le Fou (1965) at age 15. After attending film school she moved to New York City and, influenced by the work of experimental filmmakers Michael Snow and Jonas Mekas, made La Chambre (1972) and the short experimental feature Hotel Monterey (1972). Her first official feature, the minimalist road movie Je Tu Il Elle (1975), made her name on the festival circuit and introduced her to French star Delphine Seyrig, whose support led to Jeanne Dielman. Decades later, the mix of narrative, avant-garde, documentary detail, and precise imagery is just as startling and it remains a singular works of cinema.

Akerman died last week at age 65. Hulu has all five early features, plus the short La Chambre, from the Criterion Collection available to stream. In addition to the above-mentioned films, it includes the 1976 News From Home and the semi-autobiographical Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978).

The collection of Chantal Akerman films is here on Hulu.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.