Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

Jeanne Dielman is probably not as monstrous as my rating suggests. Technical wise it's superb, with static, exquisitely composed shots and a pleasing color palette to counterbalance the excruciating nature of the story. Chronicling a Belgian widow's life for a span of three days, Jeanne Dielman is almost painfully patient with its storytelling. The first day was documented with abundant intimacy and details, as we are offered a fascinating peek into the titular character, Jeanne Dielman's obsessive, almost ritualistic way of living, cooking for his son, buying groceries, and the most shocking of all, prostituting in her own house to make ends meet. Everything was presented with enough poise and style, thanks to Delphine Seyrig's naturalistic portrait of the woman who appears extremely put together, despite a deeply tormented psyche. As a poignant character study of a woman suffering from loneliness and a repetitively mundane existence, the first day is simply filmmaking in its most magnificent form.

What really ruined it completely for me is the boredom caused by the following days, which is almost a carbon copy of the first day, except with several minor or major variations that echo its feminist theme. If there's a twist coming, you would most likely see it from miles away, and the second half simply bets its life on that twist to work. It's simply a chore to sit through knowing much of what's yet to come you've seen from the first hour or so.

I don't typically have a problem with long movies with little or no variations, but I just don't think it's wise to make a point opting for the brute forces, when there are already logarithmic methods out there with equally satisfactory results. Highly disappointed.

Nick liked these reviews

All