Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman – 1975) A-

A mouthful of a movie title and it is a wonder to watch if one is into watching long, meticulously scripted, low on plot (very low on plot) art house flicks. Due to its construction, it is easy to divide up into a couple of watching sessions. It chronicles a few days, and labels them, Day 2, Day 3 of the titular character. Living at this address in Brussels, it seems like a nice neighborhood and a decent place to live. She is a widow with a son in high school (or maybe college). That’s about it. We watch her doing chores, all her chores, in real time practically. She cooks, she shops for groceries, she cleans, she polishes her son’s shoes, she has sex every so often for money…She does have a few conversations with that son and they do go on walks every evening to somewhere. The conversations do not matter at all, they say nothing. We are here simply to observe. This is the ultimate dreary exercise in voyeurism on one hand and an unpolished look at a woman’s slice of life. It really lulled me into keeping up with it, appreciating the craft of the long single scripted takes until the shocking finale that came out of nowhere. This is one of those films that are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea but it worked very well for me.

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