Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, Bruxelles | Film Review | Slant Magazine
But more than a corrective to traditional cinema, Jeanne Dielman is a “opened [ my] mind to the relationship between film and your body, time as The film ends with an explicit yet stylized sex scene between two women. In her film Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, Bruxelles, Perhaps in marriage she accepted no less unctuous a fate than she has accepted now. The director marks the end of each day with a title card. More than 30 years later, “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, go so far as to alter the viewer's physical relationship with the movie. for the film's overwhelming concreteness or the horrifying logic of its ending.
When the man in the room takes too long and the potatoes get ruined, she is panicked, flustered, disturbed and has to run out of the apartment to get more. She puts her coat on over her apron, and the fine choreography of her life is shattered. Chantal Akerman told me that every moment, every gesture and especially every pause of the film had been worked out beforehand, even down to Jeanne distractedly playing with sugar lumps on her Formica tabletop, which comes over as a rare spontaneous action in her day.
Akerman made the film in when she was She filmed it on 35mm with Delphine Seyrig playing Jeanne. I told her that it felt like a very brave thing to have done, and she said that it wasn't really - it was just that things were easier in the seventies.
"Jeanne Dielman" by Jayne Loader
And I think she is probably right. Jeanne Dielman has its roots in happenings and performance, and these in turn were connected with the wider use of video and 'real time'.
Akerman has taken the characteristics of real-time recording but chosen to work in film.
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She has used with total effectiveness cinema's greatest tool, the edit. The result is that Jeanne Dielmann has very specific time qualities: It is so finely edited that we can no longer differentiate our real time from her real time.
What is fictional time? Akerman's film D'Est traces a journey from the end of summer to the depths of winter, from East Germany to Moscow. It is an epic film, documentary in its observation but quieter, slower and conveying as much by the rhythm of its ambient sound as by its extended sequences.
Sometimes her camera is static and we watch a man sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette, or a woman on stage playing her cello.
Each sequence is as long as it takes for the moment to pass, for the whole cigarette to be smoked or for the music to be played. At other times the camera moves and we pass along queues of people, standing singly. The camera does not pause, but it does study these people one by one.
We get to a packed railway station reminiscent of Ellis Island. The stillness of the camera and of the waiting people has the quality of a painting. It is a departure from her single-screen work, and a transition hard to bear for those hard-line lovers of her films. Over six video monitors in a gallery space, she shows part of four of her films the other two are Toute Une Nuit and Hotel Monterey. They are united by Akerman's voice reading a text she has written herself called A Family In Brussels - written in the first person but speaking as her mother.
It is about the death of her husband, Akerman's father, and its attention to detail through the eyes of a widow is reminiscent of Jeanne Dielman. As you listen to her voice and watch moments from her films, is easy to understand the importance of autobiography in her work.
A Work In Progress. The best we can hope for is to be in a position where the camera can turn and watch her walk away and then wait for her to come back. The apartment practically becomes an added character, hence the importance of the address in the title; also, note that Jeanne lives on "Commerce Street. It's not that each tiny action is important unto itself, but it's the cumulative effect.
The director marks the end of each day with a title card. Jeanne going to bed is like punching a time clock at a factory, and then we jump to the next day, punch back in. The tedium of her labors, her lonely toil, these things add up. She and her son barely speak, nor does she exchange any words with her johns.
When a neighbor drops her baby off so Jeanne can watch the child while she does her shopping, the woman on the other side of the door, whom we never see, talks Jeanne's ear off, but Jeanne barely responds. Yes, it's all rather boring, and it's meant to be so, so why the hell is it so riveting to watch? And for more than three hours, no less!
I can only attribute it to the constant movement, that Jeanne is never really still. Even when she sits, Delphine Seyrig is still acting. We may not be privy to what thoughts are going through her head, but we can see that the thoughts are there. The actress gives a methodical performance, but it never appears as such. Delphine Seyrig is Jeanne Dielman. Some will say this movie requires patience, but for me, it passed without me noticing the time at all. Through this, we come to understand how heavy Jeanne's existence weighs on her, and so it makes sense to us when a small break in the routine sets off a chain reaction the woman can't get out of.
When a customer stays too long, Jeanne's potatoes for dinner are overcooked, and she doesn't have enough to make more. So, she has to hurry to the market to buy a new bag and get back in time to peel them and cook them before Sylvain gets home. Otherwise, they can't have the same veal dinner they have every week, each day having its own expected meal. This small break from convention is enough, though. The predictability gives Jeanne something more to focus on than what she may be feeling, and when things get unpredictable, the wall crumbles.
How does "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce" benefit from its over 3 hour runtime | ScreenPrism
A simple thing like an empty bag of potatoes suddenly becomes the most important and tragic object in the whole world. It's a heartbreaking scene, Delphine Seyrig sitting alone with a pile of potatoes, fighting back the emotion as she peels them one by one. Jeanne Dielman has come unmoored, and now nothing is going to work as it's supposed to.
She can't concentrate on any activity, and she tries to enforce the regular patter with Sylvain even though they are running late. She hasn't even had time to fix her hair, something the clueless son makes mention of. In fact, it's after this that he starts talking about sex as violence.
It all keeps Jeanne off balance, and she stays off balance throughout Day 3, as well. It's amazing to watch the way Akerman and Maroulacou break Jeanne down, and made all the more amazing by how Seyrig executes her performance. Eventually, Jeanne abandons her routine altogether and just sits and stares off into space. She has made two pots of coffee and neither of them taste right to her, she has searched all over the city for a particular button and could not find it, nothing is working.
Her denial of her own unhappiness is no longer possible. So, she waits for that afternoon's appointment. Since we've now broken through, Akerman takes us to where we have not been allowed to go before: Up until now, we have been spared witnessing that humiliation, and as a result, I think we've been able to accept it.
Like Sylvain, we just don't ask, we only assume Jeanne is fine.
Seeing it now, though, we are witness to how decidedly unerotic the sex is. I guess that towel that we saw Jeanne clean, the one she puts under herself so as not to sully her bedspread, should have been a tip-off, but I don't think anything can quite prepare us for how flaccid even this routine has become. Again, though, we are left with more ambiguity. Stuck under today's hairy beast, who is practically comatose as he goes about his business at one point I wondered if he had fallen asleepJeanne at first looks like she has checked out mentally, but suddenly, she starts to react.
She screams and squirms underneath the john. She looks like she is uncomfortable and possibly in pain, but she also looks like maybe she is climaxing. It's another detail that is left up to us. Can she just not take it anymore, and this pig is too lost in his own endeavors to notice? Or has Jeanne's body betrayed her by reacting to his? Either way, something has gone wrong, and this can no longer continue. The sudden action Jeanne takes is shocking, and in so many other movies, would have been a cop-out left-field turn.
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Yet, all involved with Jeanne Dielman have been so careful in terms of building up to this moment, of chronicling how normalcy turns to chaos, of using the lengthy scenes and the extended running time to push Jeanne from point A to point B to point C, it's a stunningly acceptable move. We get it, we almost applaud it. I'll leave it to others to argue the feminist meaning of Jeanne Dielman; for me, any experience shared with such heartfelt accuracy is more humanist than anything.