JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES
12:30 4:10 7:50
Final Day - Thursday, April 7
Directed by Chantal Akerman
Starring Delphine Seyrig
(1975) A simply dressed Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad, Stolen Kisses) puts something on the stove in her modest apartment, then answers the doorbell to admit an older man. Wordlessly taking his hat and coat, they go to the bedroom; after a time shift represented by a light change, they reemerge, she gives him his hat and coat, he gives her money and leaves. Then she checks what’s cooking on the stove, airs out the bedroom, takes a bath, puts on her clothes, wipes out the tub. The next day, shopping, lunching out, and caring for a baby are added to the routines, plus the afternoon visitor. But on the third day, the routines are interrupted, things go slightly awry, and the shell of habit starts to crack; and when the ultimate change occurs, mortal consequences ensue. Akerman’s breakthrough feature (made when she was 25, in five weeks, for $125,000) achieves a microscopic examination of one woman’s life, and by its intensity, with mostly head-on, long take, real time visuals, and music-less and mostly dialogue-less track, forces us to see those little things in life, in a totally new way. Approx. 201 mins.
A JANUS FILMS RELEASE
I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman played at Film Forum for one week, March 30-April 5 (free admission).
“SUPREMELY SENSUAL! Changed the face of contemporary European cinema. To put it baldly - a great movie. The operative word in the description is details: Akerman makes a spectacle unique in film history out of Seyrig’s daily chores. Seyrig inhabits her role so absolutely - even to the clumsiness of her potato-peeling - that she more than justifies the deliberate pedantry of the film’s full title... Dielman is a lethal travesty of melodrama - a deadpan resurrection of the ultimate weepie plot - using a situation that was a chestnut when Mizoguchi discovered it. In affect, it resembles late Hitchcock, but what Hitch used to set the table, Akerman turns into virtually the entire film. As in Psycho or The Birds, Akerman reveals the sinister in the commonplace, but does so to a far more astute social purpose.”
– J. Hoberman, Village Voice
“It’s not difficult to understand the extraordinary underground reputation of this very beautiful film. It is not quite like any other film you’ve ever seen. Seyrig is a screen presence comparable, perhaps, only to Garbo.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“AN ASTONISHINGLY MOVING AND RADICAL ACHIEVEMENT! Jeanne Dielman has lost none of its power, lucidly evoking as it does the texture of ordinary lives as well as the trauma of the Holocaust, which informed much of Akerman’s deeply personal vision. In her singularly beautiful and richly resonant body of work, as well as the history of cinema, it remains a monumental achievement.”
– Kristin M. Jones, The Wall Street Journal
“Like Orson Welles, the Belgian director Chantal Akerman revolutionized the cinema with a movie that she made in her mid-twenties – Jeanne Dielman. Akerman converts the story’s feminist psychology into choreographic spectacle, depicting housework, sex, and family life with a gestural and directorial precision that renders them monumental.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker