It's not a brisk 201 minutes but it is engrossing and rewarding, a painstakingly realistic account (oozing verisimiltude out of every frame, and there are a lot of frames) of three days in the life of the female protagonist of the title, portrayed by Delphine Seyrig.
Stream Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
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Not only is it a stunning piece of filmmaking that is as rich in detail as it is patient in its exploration, but it also makes the most of absolutely every single element of its slice-of-life portrait.
Avant-garde triumph revolving around the seemingly mundane life of a widow in Brussels.
Chantal Akerman’s 1975 experiment in film form, Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, is an astonishing work of subtextual feminism which has to count as one of the seminal films of the 1970s.
Being fascinating and unique, two qualities unquestionably in evidence here, don’t automatically deserve praise and, because of the film’s high quotient of tediousness, I find it impossible to recommend to any but the most devoted of experimental art film lovers. It works very well, however, as a cure for insomnia.
Ultimately, Jeanne Dielman registers not as a condemnation of domesticity, but a document of the exhaustion that comes from caring for others and never receiving care in return.
Jeanne Dielman is not for all tastes. But for those with the necessary patience, it is a game-changing masterpiece. [11 Sep 2009, p.G18]
Akerman’s chillingly sardonic feminist fable—which also bears the weight of unspoken wartime trauma—is built on a sublime paradox, the elusive identity of someone who, as the title suggests, is so easily identified.
Chantal Akerman’s radical 1975 masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles turns the term “realism” on its face, exploring the contours of a woman’s life through the mundane routines that never make it into movies.
Jeanne Dielman... has been described as minimalist, though I don't see how any film this long and so packed with information could be equated with minimalism as defined in painting. The manner of the film is spare, but the terrible, obsessive monotony of the life it observes is ultimately as melodramatic as, say, Roman Polanski's ''Repulsion.''