Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles ★★★★½

This is another film that I found myself getting very restless and decided to watch it in hour increments, which coincides nicely with the time frame of the movie. It takes place over the course of three days. This is also another gem of a film that at the end and afterwards, waves of thoughts and feelings swept over me, but not during it. 

If I were to try to condense it, this is a story of a woman, whose life is made up of daily rituals and those rituals keep her restrained or contained from realizing who she really is. As the audience, we see her normal routines during the first day. The second day, there is an experience that disrupts her routine. By the third day, she’s out of control. I’m being facetious. Or maybe not.

To me, this was a vastly different and better film experience than watching  “Je tu il elle “ by the same director, Chantal Ackerman. In that film, which to me was made in the same way, it bored me silly, especially the first part of it. With Jeanne Dielman, Ackerman seems to have more confidence in how she’s filming it and what she’s showing us. Maybe the character seems to be a deeper and richer character to be experiencing, even as her lifestyle and actions could be boring to follow. It probably helps that Delphine Seyrig is portraying Jeanne. So much of what Seyrig is doing is so contained and almost emotionless, especially during the first day. But she starts giving us glimpses as the film progresses and at the final scene, when she sits at the table, you are aware of her clothes and then start focusing on her face. As little as she does, each small movement or expression seems to show a gamut of emotions. If you teaching an acting class, show this to your students.

I think this is my fourth film by Ackerman.
This to me is her masterpiece. I can understand how this could have seemed almost revolutionary in 1975, especially to feminists who could see this as a vehicle to latch onto as an expression of the boredom and oppression that is placed upon and expected of women. By allowing this to be stretched out time wise allowed the experience of watching and feeling this to reverberate deeply.

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