Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

As the host of this screening put it, this can be seen as a provocative "fuck you" to the notion that movies need to be entertaining. There's plenty of evidence to support this reading: the lack of traditional action or arc, the lack of any non-diegetic music, the rejection of montage editing and close-ups/inserts/establishing shots, etc. But I also feel like that's admitting that this is "boring," which I never personally found it to be. There's too much "about" there in the same way that the Kinks song "Shangri-La" is about middle-class malaise or the Subhumans song "Susan" is about a depressed young woman. People wouldn't likely say those songs are boring because they are presented in an easily digestible pop song. Jeanne Dielman is photographed in gorgeous color, set in aesthetically pleasing Brussels, and stars a gorgeous actress giving a performance of sublime subtlety (If that's not a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, I don't know what is). The frames feel alternately balanced and serene or binding like a trap, depending on the scene. The form fits the subject, so we're going to have to sit for a long while to really understand Dielman's final actions (actions which verge on being corny, if I'm being honest). There are definitely movies that are far more boring for lack of any ideas, purpose or vision. This is a radical movie, and we need thousands more like it.

On a personal note, I experienced an amazing feeling of guilt and irony as I watched Jeanne wash a sink full of dishes. Miles away a sink full of dirty dishes sat in my apartment while I paid $10 for the privilege of watching someone else wash dishes in a movie. What a world.

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