Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

True story: I grew up in a house with old world European parents who suffered from obsessive  compulsive disorder. It took me over an hour into this film to realize there was something wrong. For real. 

I can (anecdotally) confirm that people suffering from OCD display what the rest of us would call a lack of imagination.  It doesn’t occur to them that overcooking the potatoes is not a big deal. 

To call this film subversive or reactionary is completely missing the point because just that perspective centers the male point of view.  It dismisses the idea that this is exactly the film the director wanted to make.  

This was released in the middle of the second wave of modern feminism when many of us were first exposed to the idea that feminism could be about a lifetime of daily soul sucking casual indignities. Halfway through the film the son delivers what he thinks is helpful observation but lands as cruel and heartbreaking. 

This is a timely lesson because it has been forgotten. Blotted out by design of corporations who have done their best to co-opt and cleanse the term ‘feminism’ to be little more than shallow iconography represented by the Fierce Disney Princess.  

Great film. I had not seen it before this morning so thanks to Letterboxd for exposing me to it and Criterion for featuring it this week.

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