News from Home is a 1977 avant-garde documentary film directed by Chantal Akerman. The film consists of long takes of locations in New York City, set to Akerman’s voice-over as she reads letters her mother sent her between 1971 and 1973, when the director lived in the city.
In November 1971, at the age of 21, the Belgian film director Chantal Akerman moved to New York City. There she took petty jobs, made films and befriended filmmakers such as Jonas Mekas and the cinematographer Babette Mangolte, who would become one of her recurring collaborators. According to Akerman, she spent the period living “like a vagabond.” Principal photography for News from Home took place in the summer of 1976, three years after the director moved back to Belgium and after she achieved critical success with the 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Locations chosen for News from Home correspond to the areas where Akerman used to take walks, which include the Times Square subway station and Hell’s Kitchen. None of the sound was recorded synchronised with the images.