Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

This movie is much more than I thought it would be and that is saying something, because my expectations were skyhigh.
To be rather honest, I'm completely overwhelmed, because this is the most singular film experience that I have ever had.

I'm not going to say anything about the plot for those of you who don't know about it yet, but basically nothing happens for more than 3 hours, until something happens, and then the movie is over.

After a few scenes of "nothing happening", I already had to hold back tears.
Out of the boring, daily routine of a woman, Akerman creates a monolithic work of modern art about loneliness, about patriarchy (specifically) and about imprisonment in one's circumstances (more broadly), about where responsibility ends and self-enslavement starts, but most of all about the life of the modern housewife before mass entertainment existed, and she achieves all of that with immense ease and ultimate perfection in every single, seemingly pointless shot.
And I really mean that, every action, every detail gets endless importance and thus the film manages to capture nuances of this woman's life, that couldn't have been cinematically depicted in any other way.

I really want to say much more about the film, because there is just so much to unpack, but I feel like I'm gonna have to let it sink in before I can give a well-articulated, thoughtful review.
If you haven't seen it yet, just do, it's pretty much THE essential viewing for every cinephile.

I lastly just want to point out and appreciate a scene that struck me especially (spoilers):

There is a point in Jeanne's third day where she ends up sitting on her armchair in the living room. This is the first time the camera is there to fully focus on her and only on her and not her surroundings.
In that moment, she feels free of the societal and situational construct she is trapped in, her daily routine is almost off the rails at this point. But then she hesitates and continues to dust off her cupboard in a shot that again focuses on her surroundings more than her, probably because she is scared by this sudden, unstructured freedom and his impending consequences and also because she has no idea what to do with it.


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