Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles ★★★½

I wanted to love every second of this (and know deep down I should), so if I’m disappointed in anything it’s probably in myself more than in the film. This is a radical, brave and testing portrait of the predestined domesticity women all over the world have had to endure for centuries. Clocking in at a whopping 201 minutes, it almost feels as painful to watch as it looks, largely due to the fact the primary motive is to demonstrate Jeanne’s tedious cycle of chores and single-parenting. Although it tends to get lost somewhere between static and stagnant, it’s a masterpiece in its own right to be sure, and deserves all the recognition it gets. You can see its influence on modern cinema that strives for naturalism; the pace of Cuarón’s Roma or the scene in which Rooney Mara eats a pie in A Ghost Story. Unfortunately, its extremism just isn't for me, a viewer who isn’t built with patience when it comes to realism. This makes Tarkovsky look like light entertainment. All I know is, Akerman gave us something truly important here, perhaps the greatest documentation of human behaviour in all its mundanity. This is an exploration of the female condition that’s more than worth the laborious length. But anyway, how should I know? I’m not a woman.

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