Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

I was planning on watching and reviewing this as my last FilmStruck hurrah, ending off where I started - watching Chantal Akerman. It would have been a bittersweet end, but I figured this would couple well with Kaneto Shindô's The Naked Island, so I decided to finally knock this behemoth off my watchlist. It's not nearly as insufferable as I imagined, but it's just about as tedious, but that's the point, right? Just coming off The Naked Island, it's hard not for me to criticize Jeanne Dielman's length, as Shindô basically covered the same habitual, monotonous ground in less than half the time. We saw their chores, observed their rituals, and it didn't have to be filmed in "real time". We were very much in their space and knew what they were feeling without having to linger on chunks of extended action that are usually cut out of films, such as eating a meal, washing dishes, and taking a bath. Sure, it's different, but does having Delphine Seyrig stare at the camera for seven minutes really make an outstanding performance? No. The camera keeps such a cool, unintimate distance from her that it's hard to read her. She's bored, of course, and subtle changes in her routine point to a possible breakdown, but then she really snaps, and I was left scratching my head. Despite that criticism, I will admit that I was fascinated by parts of Seyrig's routine, such as the preparing of the meat on the third day. It just needed scaling back!

Chance liked these reviews