milesdinou’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is a film that you can study for days and days and days. It is for the most patient of filmgoers, looking for something thought provoking and just pure genius.
Jeanne Dielman is just that. It's a meditation on motherhood, loneliness and sorrow. Chantal Akerman is a genius not only in her cinematic talents, but in her brilliant skill with her actors. Delphine Seyrig tells us more in her facial expressions, like Passion, than any actress can do throughout a while runtime of a film.
The film is meticulous and slow, which might put people with low attention spans off, although for the most patient and art seeking filmmakers, this film is truly a rewarding watch.
We follow Jeanne Dielman over three consecutive days as she follows her daily routine. She has a single son, who's very timid and awkward, and she does the things that a mother would normally do: she cooks, cleans, buys food, and also works as a part time prostitute - which keeps her from getting in debt.
Earlier I mentioned the incredible skill that Delphine Seyrig holds, but damn. She might be one of the greatest actresses ever to live. If you take one of the scenes from this film, such as the infamous potato peeling scene, the real appeal is not the potatoes, but what is happening with her face. You can tell that she's sick of her routine, and of motherhood in general. You can tell that all from her face, which is pretty genius if you ask me.
There are many scenes in this film where absolutely nothing happens. The single shot narrative is hard to catch on, but when you do, you fall in love with Akerman's style. It's quite reminiscent of Ozu, and how there are no panning shots whatsoever,
Back to talking about the scenes, when nothing happens, the film does the opposite of what you might think - it draws you in. There is something about the mood, the whole entire tone of the film hat makes you feel uneasy. Like something is about to happen, but you don't know what. This is all thanks to the incredible directing and acting talents of Chantal Akerman and Delphine Seyrig, as well as the cinematographer.
When something DOES happen, it leaves a mark in your brain, because you half expect and half don't expect for it to happen, but it eventually does (the shocking ending).
When you talk about feminist filmmakers, the name Chantal Akerman primarily comes up at least once. She is one of the few revolutionary female directors, who sadly passed away last year (RIP). She focused on a single woman's struggles in an artful manner, focusing on every single little detail and perfecting it. When you're watching Jeanne Dielman, you're watching art.
I cannot say enough great things about this film, you just have to experience it for yourself. When you watch it, you aren't necessarily watching it. You're experiencing it, which is what Akerman's overall goal was. You identify with Jeanne like no other character in any film, and that is why Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is simply one of the greatest pieces of art ever out to the silver screen.