Belgian director Chantal Akerman dies at 65

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Belgian director Chantal Akerman, who pioneered feminist and experimental filmmaking, has died.

Akerman died Monday in Paris at 65, The New York Times reported. The cause of death was not immediately known, though French media has reported that Akerman committed suicide, according to Times.

Her sister Sylviane Akerman, her only immediate survivor, confirmed the death to The New York Times.

Akerman was in a “dark emotional state” in the wake of her mother’s death last year, according to the newspaper, and had breakdowns. She was hospitalized recently for depression and returned to Paris 10 days before her death, her sister told the newspaper.

She made more than 40 films during her lifetime, and in recent years explored her Jewish identity, according to the Times.

Her most recent film, “No Home Movie,” which is being screened at the New York Film Festival, shows conversations between Akerman and her ill mother, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Akerman, a Brussels native, was the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland.

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