Survivors: Chantal Akerman’s Memoirs “My Mom Is Laughing” – Culture


Fritz Goettler

“She often laughs between her complaints,” the mother says at the beginning of this book: “She is happy. I listen to her laughter. She laughs for nothing. This nothingness is a lot. Sometimes she even laughs in the morning. She wakes up tired up, but she wakes up and starts the day.” What this mother’s laughter means, where it comes from, what it hides, what it can provoke is played out in the book, leaving empty, unexplained passages, biographical and autobiographical: how this laughter is connected to the existence of the narrator, the daughter , the filmmaker Chantal Akerman. A double life, a symbiosis. A Jewish mother, she survived the concentration camps of the Nazi era.

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