My Mother Laughs

Chantal Akerman (Artist) Corina Copp (Translator)


First published in France in 2013, My Mother Laughs is the final book written by the legendary and beloved Belgian artist and director Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) before her death. A moving and unforgettable memoir, the book delves deeply into one of the central themes and focuses of Akerman's often autobiographical films: her mother, who was the direct subject of her final film No Home Movie (2015).

With a particular focus on the difficulties Akerman faced in conjunction with the end of her mother's life, the book combines a matter-of-fact writing style with family photographs and stills from her own films in order to better convey the totality of her experience. Akerman writes: With pride because I finally believed in my ability to say something that I'd had trouble saying. I told myself, I am strong for once, I speak. I tell the truth.

Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) was a Belgian film director, screenwriter, artist and professor. She is best known for her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which was dubbed a masterpiece by the New York Times. During her 42 years of active filmmaking, Akerman's influence on queer, feminist and avant-garde cinema remains unmatched, her films highlighting a near-physical passage of time. Akerman's films have been shown at the Venice Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, among many others.

Product Details

$20.00  $18.40
Song Cave
Publish Date
June 18, 2019
5.6 X 0.6 X 7.5 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Corina Copp is a writer and theater artist based in New York. She is the author of the chapbooks ALL STOCK MUST GO (Shit Valley Verlag, UK), Miracle Mare (Trafficker Press), and Pro Magenta/Be Met (Ugly Duckling Presse), among others. Her writing can be found in Cabinet, BOMB, Boston Review, Corrected Slogans: Reading and Writing Conceptualism (Triple Canopy); SFMOMA's Open Space, and elsewhere. She is developing a three-part play entitled The Whole Tragedy of the Inability to Love, inspired by the successive forms of the work of Marguerite Duras. Excerpts have been presented at the NYC Prelude Festival, Dixon Place, and through the support of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace program. She is a curator at the Segue Foundation and a 2014 NYFA Fellow. THE GREEN RAY (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) is her first full- length book.


Chantal Akerman's My Mother Laughs is a shattering memoir about her octogenarian mother's final years and an intimate companion piece to her documentary on the same subject, 2015's No Home Movie.--Film Comment
My Mother Laughs [is] a memoir in the form of a poetic musing on the inevitability of death and the difficulty of letting loved ones go.--Alex Greenberger "ARTnews "
My Mother Laughs may be Akerman's most interior, psychological work. It's one final message from the artist, illuminating the mottled effect her mother had on her life and creativity.--Tanner Tafelski "Hyperallegic "
a heart-wrenching read... with Akerman's words transitioning unmarked into those of the other (always female) key figures in the book: her mother, sister, lover.--Daniel Witkin "Brooklyn Rail "
Just as Chantal Akerman's films linger on objects and people, her final book My Mother Laughs (2019) - recently published in the US by The Song Cave - lingers on the daily stresses of caretaking for her dying mother and interpersonal family anxieties.--Steven Zultanski "Frieze "
[My Mother Laughs is] a reminder that Akerman's voice was utterly unique.--Christopher Schobert "The Film Stage "
"My Mother Laughs," the last complete book by the director Chantal Akerman, is full of whats and hows and whys that linger unanswerably in the memory.--Jackson Arn "Forward "