Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades.
“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.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
“LIKE its blunt title, Chantal Akerman’s ”Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles,” deals in unadorned facts. It’s about the looks and sounds of ordinary things and people, which it records with such precise, unsettling clarity that it has the effect of finding threats in mundane objects and doom in commonplace characters.
It’s not difficult to understand the extraordinary underground reputation of this lengthy (three hours and 18 minutes), very beautiful Belgian film, made in 1975 and starring Delphine Seyrig, a screen presense comparable, perhaps, only to Garbo. Miss Seyrig has participated in a number of supposedly experimental films over the years, but in none as original and ambitious as this.
”Jeanne Dielman” is not quite like any other film you’ve ever seen, though it does recall the early films of Jean-Luc Godard as well as some of the work of our structuralist film makers of the late 1960’s and 70’s. It’s as fastidious and deadpanned as its title character, a genteel, middle-class widow-and-mother who supports herself and her teen-age son by prostitution each afternoon, in her depressingly tidy apartment, with a series of fastidious gentlemen callers, middle-aged and older.” – Vincent Canby, NYTimes
- 3/18 | 7:00PM