Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
A classic of both feminist and experimental filmmaking, Chantal Akerman's marathon dissection of the life of Belgian housewife/mother/prostitute Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig) stays on the surface of the details of Jeanne's humdrum daily life, as if it were a real-life, real-time documentary of an ordinary life, in the tradition of Agnès Varda's earlier New Wave landmark, Cleo From 5 to 7 (1961). Jeanne feeds her son, fixes potatoes, does the marketing, entertains gentlemen -- but things slowly, almost imperceptibly start to go wrong, first those potatoes, and then, finally, something more shocking. Akerman sets out to capture the rhythm of daily life, even as that pace sets us up, after several hours, for the almost tossed-off, blink-and-you'll-miss-it climax. ~ Leo Charney, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Jeanne Dielman is immersion cinema, a brilliant example of maximal minimalism that fuses viewer with subject so profoundly, the marathon experience transcends simple spectatorship.
Chantal Akerman's feature is one of the few 'feminist' movies that's as interesting aesthetically as politically.
Jeanne Dielman deals in unadorned facts. It's about the looks and sounds of ordinary things and people, which it records with such... unsettling clarity that it has the effect of finding threats in mundane objects and doom in [the] commonplace.
Akerman forges a major statement, not only in a feminist context but also in a way that tells us something about the lives we all live.
One of the most significant feminist works made, Jeanne Dileman is a masterwork in thematic, aesthetic, and formal-theoretical ways.
Jeanne Dielman can initially absorb, fascinate but, ultimately, ends up less than the sum of its parts
...a transfixing experience that inspires a kind of solemn awe on an initial viewing, but upon reflection it yields its fair share of humor.
maddening, hypnotic, fascinating, mundane, electrifying, mind-numbing, and ultimately shocking
It's very simply a great film, if for no other reason than the fact that it's brave enough to focus almost entirely on those things that ordinary films leave out, or take for granted.
... an epic portrait of a quotidian life where every gesture through the 200-minute study becomes important and the slips in routine reverberate like aftershocks of an earthquake.
There are as many ways to understand Jeanne Dielman as there are ways to understand art and life itself... not an easy nor a straightforward movie, and one must meet it at least halfway if not further.
Neglected but critically acclaimed arthouse classic of both feminist and experimental filmmaking.
In Akerman's masterpiece... small gestures take on a visual richness that is also the richness of foiled narrative expectation.
Audience Reviews for Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
This is a very hard film to rate. It is about 3 hours of mundane detail as a housewife does chores around the house. It's the only foreign language film I have been able to watch while reading a newspaper and still follow. There is very little dialogue and even less action.
There is something about it I can't totally hate. It is ambitious in its sheer tedium.
At 1 hour 10 in, I had something else to do, so I fast forwarded through the non speaking parts.
I think it probably does have something to say about a woman's lot. At least back in the 70's when this was filmed.
My mother married in this era and had me. The decision to marry and have children was "what you did" as with the main character in this movie, though she's now widowed.
Oh, and this character "hooks" on the side, though that's mostly off screen.
There is an event to break up the extreme tedium at the very end, though I could not say it would make the three hours plus worthwhile for a majority of viewers.
You kind of have to weigh it up. It's certainly a successful exercise in boredom and isolation, but it's also three hours of your life you may wish to have back.
An emotionless widow does chores around her apartment in real time for three hours; something happens in the last ten minutes. Like Andy Warhol's "Sleep," this deliberate experiment in extended boredom serves a purpose in the film universe; it's just that that purpose isn't to be watched by an audience. The universal praise for this avant-garde prank would make a great case study for "Extraordinary Critical Delusions and the Madness of Crowds."More
Chantal Akerman's "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" is a feminist classic, that force the audience to see the boring, no dreams and automatic life of the title character. A portrait of the repression of the women in the world. Jeanne (Delphine Seyrig), had bad moments in her marriage, where she always receive bad critics from your husband, meanwhile she make everything at the house. When he dies, she still be a domestic slave, living a mechanic daily routine. Her work as prostitute could be seen as a metaphor for the repression that she suffer by the men.
Ms. Akerman use the long scenes and just a few words to show this empty live of Jeanne. All this looks very boring and unnecessary, but along by the film, we see that all was extremely precise for the story. Jeanne Dielman, as the majority of the housewifes, is really careful. And with just a simple gesture of: forget of turn off the light, forget of close the window or the potatoes don't stay ready in the dinner time, these little things, shock the audience, not just because she forget, but because she is do the same activity all day. These are the sign that something this going wrong and that Dielman, in the climax, express her angry in a men.
"Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" is a cult film with good actings and direction. A mark in experimental cinema, not for a impatient audience, this little jewel of cinema is an unforgettable film - for good or bad -. Fresh.
This is from the Criterion Collection and its the first film from that collection that I haven't purchased after watching, 3hrs and 20 min of following a widowed housewife day to day. My only question after watching this film was what the F***. 1/2 star for the fact that I wasted time watching this film. I want to meet the guy who rates this one 5 stars. I have pins for his eyes as I'm sure he will enjoy that also. 1/2 starMore
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