Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

(Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles)

Experimental film about a restless widow driven to desperation by boredom, from Venice Golden Lion-winning auteur Chantal Akerman (Night and Day).... More

Jeanne Dielman does her daily chores in the apartment where she and her teenage son live, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. But slowly, her routine begins to fall apart.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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BY yuefei superstar

Imagine the pie scene in "A Ghost Story", multiply that by a few hundreds times, and you'll get something similar to "Jeanne Dielman".

If that doesn't do it, imagine a faithful film adaptation of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"; those same monotonous descriptions as an attempt to get the ultimate empathetic experience by means of realism.

It works. It works pretty damn well.

So, this film has mostly been interpreted through feminist lenses. I don't know much about feminism in and of... More itself, but it's not hard to see that the undesirable circumstances that the protagonist is in is really a direct consequence of the existence of the "patriarchy": she works as a prostitute in order to support her awkward, obedient (yet cold) teenage boy's education, because her husband (whom she married for very practical reasons) had died a few years back and she decided not to remarry. Running at about 3 and a half hours long, the solitude and mind-numbing drudgery that Dielman has to deal with is directly felt by the audience.

Minute details start going wrong, and the film begins to escalate with each passing chore. I never thought I'd say this, but watching chores being performed was actually pretty interesting (but I cannot deny that the whole film was tedious, because that tediousness is essential to the experience).

This isn't a film to be watched for entertainment, but one that has the same effects as a great novel: It will change the way you look at the world.

I can say so from experience, since I'd just taken a shower before writing this and I was immediately overwhelmed by the familiarity.Hide

The Press Reviews

  • 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. Full Review

  • Chantal Akerman's feature is one of the few 'feminist' movies that's as interesting aesthetically as politically. Full Review

  • Jeanne Dielman is immersion cinema, a brilliant example of maximal minimalism that fuses viewer with subject so profoundly, the marathon experience transcends simple spectatorship. Full Review