Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

to be a woman is to be invisible.

this movie demands that you reckon with the hot dinner put on the table and the dishes that are cleaned every night. it does not ask or concede: it is bold in showing you every tedious routine of the labor we have shoved into kitchens and the back of our minds. this is not a wife putting on make-up before her husband wakes up so that he won't have to see her unblemished. this is every piece we have historically devalued and ignored.

a woman is mysterious and unknowable, as decades of movies and other media has drilled into our heads. who knows what they get up to? do they even have lives outside of men? the answer is simple: you will watch for three hours and you will feel the painstaking weariness and exhaustion of all that we have asked women to do. men will be on-screen but they drift on the perimeter.

there is no erotica, no drip of sexiness in the regimented day of jeanne. every inch of the male gaze, every inch of what would objectify her, is drained out of us from the moment we see her in the bath and understand that this is for her and nothing extraordinary. she sleeps with men for pay and it is just another part of the chores she must fulfill.

there's still parts of her that are hidden from us. akerman does not ask us to be voyeurs, nor does she speak for every woman. we simply observe her still face and question all we have taken for granted.

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