JackBurton1234’s review published on Letterboxd:
RIP Chantal Akerman she was a true visionary. I wish I could thank her for this piece of art I just had the joy of witnessing.
From This List: boxd.it/8kcEq
So My Dinner with Andre has an amazing scene where Wally and Andre are arguing wether life is meaningless or meaningful. Andre argues it’s not because we’re stuck in this same routine and put these warm blankets over ourselves to convince ourselves we’re actually enjoying life. Wally responds back that those small routines have meaning. What if you do enjoy having that warm blanket on not because you’re blind to the fact you’re doing the same thing everyday but because you’re appreciating life in just a different way. And maybe those routines actually do have meaning maybe those small things we do are meaningful and you can start to appreciate them more.
Wally’s response is how I would describe Jean Dielman.
It’s simple. You just watch Jeanne Dielman her daily routine and go to stores and talk to her son. There’s a two minute take of Jeanne Dielman just sitting down. There’s a three or four minute take of her just doing the dishes. And then there’s another two minute take of her just eating. Then there’s another one or two minute take of her just writing a letter to her aunt. There’s tons of long takes and still shots.
The movie is just still.
There is no soundtrack you hear two songs on the radio that the characters are listening to but other than that there’s just birds chirping and cars passing by. And yet it works. The film is nearly silent. There’s dialogue occasionally but usually it’s just Jeanne Dielman living life.
Akerman masterfully directs the film.
Now I’m going to make a comparison here to Terrence Malick. It’s an odd comparison but it’ll make sense in a minute.
Tree of Life and Song to Song both are in my favorite films and I think they’re both masterworks of cinema. Sadly haven’t seen any other Terrence Malick films but I ordered them all so I’ll be reviewing them all sometime in September when they arrive because shipping does take a while.
But that’s off topic. So the way Malick shows the world is through the lens of nature. He just shows all these beautiful pieces of nature we don’t appreciate. The trees in Tree of Life and the oceans in Song to Song. And many other parts of the film but that’s for another review.
But the way Akerman directs she shows these beautiful slow moving small parts of life we don’t usually appreciate. Not big pieces of nature just something as simple as turning on a light or just sitting down and thinking. It’s shows the beauty in simple moments.
And that’s why I loved it.
There’s beauty in Jeanne Dielman’s dresser in the background. There’s beauty in everything.
I’ll get back to direction but this will only be a second.
So I really am starting to appreciate life. I’ve gained so much appreciation for it over the recent weeks. And noticed all these beautiful things in nature or just the simple moments.
I’ve really started appreciating stuff like just sitting at a table and appreciating the beauty of the table and the room itself.
So you can imagine when I saw the film I was in shock it completely agreed with my beliefs on life and appreciating the little things.
But yeah the direction.
The way Akerman captures these rooms throughout the house is just amazing. The kitchen looks beautiful whenever it’s shown. Or how whether the lights turn on the room just feels more energized. Or when Jeanne is just walking on the street and you can just appreciate something as simple as walking down a street or going to buy yarn. Once again she shows beauty in the little things.
And the amount of long takes.
I’ve talked about them for a minute above but it doesn’t get tiring. Whenever there used they’re absolutely beautiful. I would compare it to A Ghost Story. Where A Ghost Story has the five minute pie scene this has multiple scenes of Jeanne Dielman just eating a sandwich or having soup for dinner or cleaning the plates in the sink. It’s just full of takes like that done in a completely different way.
I didn’t notice anything. It was just a woman living. Nothing more nothing less. No big allegories or metaphors it’s just Jeanne Dielman living life. And I loved it. It was so simple yet so articulated and beautiful.
Delphine Seyrig is perfect as Jeanne Dielman. She just is Jeanne Dielman. She perfectly portrays a woman living.
Also I started this movie up at 1 AM and I was extremely tired yet when I started this I was entertained the full film. I watched all three hours in one sitting. And it wasn’t boring. I’d heard mixed things some said it was boring others said it was a masterpiece. And I’m on the side that it’s just a magnificent piece of art you should see at least once in your life. Or at least give it a chance.
It won’t be for everyone.
It’s slow nothing really happens throughout the film it’s just a woman living. This is probably the slowest movie I’ve seen actually. This is up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey for the slowest film I’ve seen.
Not gonna say anything about the ending but in a spoiler review I’ll definitely be talking about how amazing that ending was.
But yeah if you don’t like slow moving very articulate films that just takes its time I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you do like that kind of film I can’t wait to here your thoughts.
And I’ll be picking up the Criterion soon. I have to see this again. I honestly want to watch it again. And if Chantal Akerman had any other of her films put on Criterion I will be picking them up. But this one especially I just have to own.
I’ve been burning through the summer bucket list so far and I was honestly afraid to watch this one but I’m glad I did it. I mean you can tell by how it ascended my favorites list how much I love it.
12/10 why does it not get an 11? Because it’s exactly what I needed at the time I watched it. I was just reminded how amazing life truly is when I watched it.
Also if you’re a cinephile this is essential viewing. You will love it or hate it either way I’m curious to here your thoughts.
Oh yeah and expect a lot of five stars and things being added to my favorite films these next couple of weeks everything on that list is on there because it’s highest priority and has the highest possibility of being added to my favorite films.
Edit: Also forgot to add that in day two of her daily routine you start notice slight errors because you’re already used to her doing this routine perfectly in one way. Rest assured it does have a meaning. And another thing you notice she stops doing her hair at one point which is something I never thought I would notice in a film. Thanks to SkaneNoise for reminding me about this I don’t know how I forgot to add it in it’s one of the most important parts of the film.
Edit: And yes I have realize the film is an allegory everything with the money and the way it connects the men is extremely subtle but I honestly prefer looking at through a philosophical lens as much a I love allegories I think of this movie more philosophically than any other way.