Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

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

just when you think it can't get any worse, you overcook the potatoes, your coffee tastes like shit, someone is sitting in your seat, the post office is closed and you don't have any stamps.

as meticulously constructed as the daily life of its subject, akerman's masterpiece is held together by long takes of seyrig's face - telling a thousand stories at once, forcing us to confront the mundanity of our own existences. with austerity and candor, she juxtaposes the beguiling and erotic comfort of routine with the terror in its disruption. i was particularly struck this time around by her conversation with the offscreen neighbor - is there anything more awful than an acquaintance telling you their thought process during their trip to the butcher, than realizing that everyone is just as confused and scared by the horrors of modern life as you?

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