Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Rewatched in light of recent transpirings. A formally and intellectually rigorous film, and its centrality to the canon is well earned. It’s commingling of stasis, monotony and dread informs everyone from Van Sant and Haynes to Haneke and Tsai. The idea of reconciling extended tedium with a flash of violence shaped, for better and worse, a whole strain of art house cinema.

I won’t go so far as to mount the “it’s actually super enthralling!” argument, because it isn’t, and I don’t think it’s meant to be. But if your film is very much about the banality of daily life, and domestic life especially, then a good way to communicate that is by depicting that banality, in all its, uh…banality. What struck me this time is how empty and silent it is, which says something about a bygone world. If they made this nowadays ol’ Jeanne would probably idle away her afternoon doing sportsbetting on her telephone.

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