Chantal Akerman was surely one of the most exceptional film-makers of her time—not least because, as a woman, she radically changed the way the camera eyed its subjects and because, as the daughter of Polish Jewish emigrants, she saw the metropolitan centres of the West not as home but rather as a permanent stopgap. Tine Rahel Völcker took three of Akerman’s films with her on a journey to Tarnów, a picturesque town in the south-eastern part of Poland. In the last election there, over 60 per cent of the population voted for right-wing or far-right parties. From 1942 to 1943 the entire Jewish population, half the town, was murdered by the German occupying forces. Chantal Akerman’s mother was born there in 1928. The book follows the traces of what is gone, eradicated, rendered invisible.
Chantal Akerman (1950–2015), Belgian film-maker, produced over forty short and feature-length films, receiving numerous international awards, among them the 2014 Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Film Prize. Her film installation From the Other Side was shown at documenta 11 in 2002.
Tine Rahel Völcker, born 1979, lives in Berlin, where she writes plays for theatre and radio.