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Mathes, B. (2020). All my toys are dead: Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie (2015). Int. Forum Psychoanal., 29(1):14-21.

(2020). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 29(1):14-21

All my toys are dead: Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie (2015)

Bettina Mathes

Making films can be a lifeline, an aid to going on living when (we feel) the world around us has disappeared. Looking, showing that there’s a “there there,” recording the present moment and thereby preserving it, can, for a time, make us not feel the nothingness within us. But the rescue that comes from making a film is always provisional. Why? Because every film has an end. Because if there are no more films to make, if there is nothing that deserves to be looked at (the worst case scenario), going on living will have exhausted itself, and taking one’s own life (if indeed there was a life to take) may seem the only option. Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie – a film recording the slow death of her mother in her Brussels apartment – is this worst case scenario. A moving record of the psychic devastation that comes about when we, slowly but surely, lose the one object worth looking at. Panic, depression, hopelessness, and a fierce determination to go where the disappeared object went. To this last home where nothing no longer moves.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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