Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Minimalist does not mean good. Innovative does not mean good.

This movie hangs onto its concept for dear life, yet the images that try to fulfill that concept are painfully banal. This movie can be summarized in one sentence written on a piece of paper. This movie doesn’t have to exist. “Jeanne Dielman” is one of those thinkpieces that are indulgent and almost meaningless. The viewer does all the work of interpreting, of finding more meaning in the movie than there actually is, and then applauds the filmmaker? What? I’m not going to be that kind of a sycophant.

The depiction of everyday life is not even realistic. You really think a housewife never reads books, watches TV, or listens to LPs/the radio? At one point, she sits and stares at nothing, and there’s never any music on. The movie deliberately ignores all forms of entertainment available so that Jeanne’s life seems more miserable and boring.

I see people writing all these essays on gender roles and oppression and giving this movie lavish praise. Do you know what Akerman should have done to merit those statements? She should have written a critical essay on politics and gender! A director films 3.5 hours of almost nothing, and other people do all the work for her by writing book-length essays of their own. Wow.

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