Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

"How could you know? You're not a woman."

This film reminded of the quote from Roma about how women are always alone, in some kind of way. Always in service to others in some kind of way. It’s like if that little quote was stretched out for over three hours as definitive proof as to what is expected of women- this would be it. The camera never moves, only the subject does. The dialogue is purposefully scarce. There’s a monotonous mundane routine that she carries out with care and detail and attention and grace- everything that is expected of a woman of this era. Until something interrupts that routine, or we are finally let in on it, of seemingly nothing, and then there’s a shift in her demeanour, almost like a release. Mixtures of emotions in just one scene where nothing happens once again. Quietly haunting, gaping silent loneliness, splinters of exasperation you’ll miss if you blink. You’re filled with your own thoughts throughout, to fill in the gaps. Add this to the list of films about nothing that have moved me. You know when you just watched something masterful when it leaves you with no words, just feelings. Incredibly ahead of its time. Authentically feminist filmmaking but you don’t even realise that until the credits roll. Insanely subtle about it. Where were the blue lights flashing delicately through the windows from? A striking warning we noticed yet ignored? Like her? Where did her and her son go each night in the evening? Who are these men? You would assume for most of this that you know all there is to know about this “boring” woman and yet you come out of it not knowing her at all. The last scene is breathtaking and an unexpected whirlwind of emotions for me and my thoughts that I did not see coming at all. Closest thing to realism I’ve seen on screen.

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