A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles brilliantly evokes, with meticulous detail and a sense of impending doom, the daily domestic routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her grown son, and turning the occasional trick—just as it begins to break down. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character portrait or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades, and is finally making its long-awaited DVD debut. —The Criterion Collection
Dubbed by the Village Voice as “arguably the most important European director of her generation,” Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman is known for making innovative films that have often earned comparison to those of Jean-Luc Godard or Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Although she rejects the label of “feminist filmmaker,” Akerman has become a guiding light in making films about the real issues faced by women, employing an experimental, deeply personal approach to her subjects.
A disciple of Godard (who first inspired the then-15-year-old Akerman with his Pierre le fou), Akerman attended Brussels’ INSAS film school and the Universite Internationale du Paris. She demonstrated her devotion to Godard with her first amateur short subject, 1968’s Saute Ma Ville (Blow up My Town), which three years after its completion was entered in the Oberhausen Festival. Working on the fringes of show business in New York in the early ’70s, Akerman became an enthusiastic participant in the avant garde film… read more
The first thing you'll notice is how trapped you feel—the cozy wallpaper alone is as nightmarishly stylized as the world of Caligari, while the fixed camera makes every location feel like a box and the material objects of domesticity turn threatening. But most important is the woman inside, whose routine begins to break in subtle, thrilling, frightening ways. One of the great works of radical cinema. 5 stars.
Jeanne Dielman, directed by Belgian director Chantal Akerman, is a very strong "feminist" film. I think this is one of the films that you either love or hate, with no possibility of something in between. It's very repetitive and hypnotic, and that is what might lead some to be extremely bored by it. But that repetition is the charm of it, as it is almost a documentation in real time of a simple housewife. And also that repetition is what allows you to see (not necessarily understand, though) how things go wrong in her life.
The different uses of time to bury, to charge, to breath, to alienate and to express; the accumulation of energy flows; the découpage that leaves us aware of the whole empty apartment all the time, intensifying Jeanne's solitude; the unbalanced frame composition/mise-en-scène (Bonitzer's deframing) which rhymes with the unbalanced disposition of actions and the unbalance between her inner and outer world; etc, etc...
Famously termed "shallow box cinema" by Manny Farber in his final missive of film criticism, Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du
I'm not sure you're all that interested to know this, but I was a judge of one of the very first home video contests ever. Actually, no, I wasn
A widowed housewife, Jeanne Dielman leads an incredibly lonely existence. She cares for her teenage son, but their interactions betray an inability to truly connect. She has built a fastidious routine… read review
I’m ecstatic about Criterion’s release of this classic, a film I’ve been dying to see for years. Up there with antyhing Bresson tor Ozu ever made. One could call it a minimalist masterpiece, but… read review