Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

I was prepared for this movie to be slow. I was not prepared for this movie to be THIS slow.

This is the type of movie that is best served studying in film school. There's a lot to digest here about how the audience is supposed to interact with cinema (and how this movie really changes that expectation), feminism in movies, the mother/whore dichotomy, etc. But ultimately -- for me -- a movie needs to be engaging. And though I can appreciate what this film is trying to do and admire it from a clinical/academic level, I cannot say that I was engaged (or enjoyed) watching this film. And that's ultimately a deal breaker for me.

A few stray thoughts on the actual movie, which had I watched this in a film studies class, I would have undoubtedly written a paper on. I had always thought that this movie was going to be very "realistic" -- but I realized about a third of the way through that this was not "realistic" at all. The ennui and stillness is heightened to an nth degree. For example, the sound design makes it so that there is almost always silence except for abnormally loud sounds (e.g., when she puts down a plate, etc.). One moment stood out to me -- the main character is at a bank, and another older woman is waiting at the next teller. That older woman literally never moves or says anything over the course of a few minutes. Again -- this is purposeful and I totally get what Akerman is trying to do. But the heightened boredom and stillness of it all makes it very hard to engage with the movie on an emotional level.