Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

a movie that sounds challenging because it is quite literally 3 hours and 20 minutes of a woman doing house work but in actual practice is somehow one of the most enthralling watches i've had in awhile. akerman's impeccable composition & mise-en-scene trains you how to experience the duration and mundanity of her routine until the smallest gestures become incredibly dramatic ones (you start to learn the routine, anticipate it and the images of it in a way that's yes static and "boring" in the way that labor is but also weirdly comforting after awhile), and when that routine is eventually shattered by a seemingly insignificant inconvenience that shifts her usual day by an hour, the one thing she had complete control over is taken from her and it's heart-breaking.

the tasks are of course patriarchal but her choice in the timing and movement of them which akerman so vividly and lovingly recreates in real-time is where she has learned to impose herself, even if only minutely, and akerman's genius is that despite very little dialogue and no obvious internal expression like narration you understand in the form why losing that power is so upsetting to her. previously established shot choices and editing patterns are slightly off from the previous 2 hours in a way that breaks the routine we've just been trained to watch for; like when she goes to her usual coffee shop late on the last day and the perfectly symmetrical composition of her sitting and drinking her coffee earlier in the film is ruined by a woman now sitting in her usual spot and her usual waitress not working that late... i was practically screaming. the entire last hour is filled with moments like this (the missing button, dropped potato, bad coffee) that lead to an unbearable, violent breaking point that should be shocking but instead you completely understand the release as if you just watched a prison escape movie, and idk what else to call a film that makes tiny visual moments like those viscerally hit you harder than most movies attempts at action or melodrama other than a masterpiece.

josh liked this review