Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles

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

144 YEARS OF CINEMA
Nr. / Year: 1975

Added to: Slow Cinema Ranked, .mpr.ss..n.sm .n F.lm & Leo’s Top 100+ Favorites

First things first: I LOVE slow cinema. It's quite possibly my favorite film movement because of the way it uses time both within the film and the duration of the film itself to enhance the experience and immersion of the story. Because of my love for the movement I made a little list which also contains the newly watched Jeanne Dielman.

Now, what to say about this landmark film in Belgian and world cinema? I liked it. I kind of expected this to happen beforehand, because I am an absolute sucker for both films that focus on the simplicities of people just existing and, as mentioned before, slow, minimal and carefully plotted stories. Yet I do have the feeling that the carefulness in Jeanne Dielman was a bit too much. I could see the slow change of character that Jeanne goes through in the second day and the small but definitely noticeable irritations that accompany it, but I couldn't help feeling that there was something missing that could give the climax more meaning. And it's also not that I didn't see the pro-feminist message that the film puts forth. The whole admiration that comes from this view in the life of a simple widowed, house wife and her simple day-to-day chores, including being the sexual relief of men, is a very daring and worthwhile position to take for a film both then and now still. This film has a strange but lasting impact that almost perfectly embodies the power of femininity and through such simple means. It's so full in your face in such an alluring and commanding manner, that it's almost impossible to not call this a cinematic masterpiece. It uses both its technical abilities and its substantial ideas to create a compelling whole, but something tells me that it could have been even greater. Still very, very brilliant. No doubt!

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