Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

This film is incredibly mundane.
Fortunately, that’s the point.

A study of a mediocre life, Jeanne Dielman bores the backside off you. It’s an act of hypnosis, without which you’d have no empathy for the woman, or an appreciation for the tediousness of her existence.

Thought of as a feminist classic, the Jeanne’s life is an at times angry statement about the lot of women in modern society: house must be perfect, conduct must be impeccable, children must be raised correctly, and provisions must be stocked.

Then, on the other hand they must please men, so poor Jeanne is also on the game, satisfying men’s desires whilst abnegating her own. It’s not a particularly sophisticated statement, but the sad fact is that there are so few films about this particularly political subject that it remains important.

Almost a one-woman show, Delphine Seyrig is marvellous in the lead role. Subtle ticks in her demeanour as the cracks begin to appear in her ordered life are conveyed with subtlety, and her lovely, expressive face anchors you to her predicament. You feel a strong connection to the woman that’s entirely the work of Seyrig.

Jeanne Dielman is not a film you’d watch to be entertained (or possibly even informed) but in its drawn-out monotony it makes a powerful statement about patriarchy.

The most dull and humdrum film I’ve seen in many a long year... highly recommended.

Treble liked these reviews