Original Title: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Country: Belgium, France
Director: Chantal Akerman
14.02.2020: This review was first published on 08.06.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
Hello! Welcome to Ulven Reviews!
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels, is a Belgian revolutionary film directed by Chantal Akerman, following three days in the routine of a typical housewife with a side gig.
World Cup Historic
Football in Belgium began as a recreation of the elite. In the mid-1890s, the sport became organized with the foundation of an Association responsible for various sports that included football. Later, it led to the formation of a football league.
One of the four European teams present in the first World Cup, in 1930, Belgium had their best result in 82, with a fourth place. In 2018, however, they surpassed the previous record.
Facing a gettable group, Belgium scored nine goals in the first stage, classifying with the first place in the group. The Round of 16, they began losing 2-nill against Japan but managed a comeback. Later they also beat Brazil in the quarters and lost to France in the semis.
In the third place dispute, Belgium faced England, an opponent from the group stage. The Belgian won the group stage match by only 1-nill and achieved third place with a 2-nill victory.
Many years ago, I was randomly watching YouTube when I came across some guy that said: “You know I’m anti-feminism…”. As a pro-feminism person, I was intrigued, so I kept watching. A little later, he added: “I’m in favor of equal rights for men and women…”, then I knew it was time to stop the video.
I understood at that moment, he was against something he didn’t even know what it was. Even worse, he was being vocal about it and misinforming others. But this mischaracterization of Feminism is not uncommon, and it’s used as a gateway to the far-right.
When I wrote the original review in 8 of June 2018, I used the dictionary definition to explain what is Feminism, but this time I’ll do it differently. I’ll put a video of the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talking about feminism in a TedTalk.
Chantal Akerman directed Jeanne Dielman with an all-female crew, in a crucial moment for women’s rights, and the film became almost a synonym of Feminist Cinema. When talking about feminist movies, 9 times out of 10 Jeanne Dielman will be mentioned.
Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
The widow Jeanne Dielman (played by Delphine Seyrig) lives a methodic routine life with her adolescent son, Sylvain (played by Jan Decorte). She cooks, takes a bath, cleans the house, and make the bed, sometimes she goes out to buy food, clothes or other things.
At the end of the afternoon, she receives a man in her room, and after a while, he pays her and leaves. We watch three days of Jeanne’s routine, with only some subtle changes in her behavior.
If I said that the previous movie was simple and straightforward, I couldn’t declare otherwise about this one. The story is literally three days of this woman’s routine with minor behavioral changes.
The movie is not in real-time, of course, or it would be a 72 hours movie, but all these activities she does are basically in real-time, so we watch as she prepares a full meal.
I believe Akerman was trying to convey the experience of what at the time was considered the woman’s duties, and the way she chose to do it, was raw, and realistically.
Chantal Akerman was extremely attentive to details. For example, when Jeanne has small-talk with her son and neighbor, every dialogue is about gender relations at the time but is very subtle, not too on your face.
Another detail is how Jeanne’s activities began very neat and meticulous, and day by day, her actions get more sloppy. The woman’s routine is making her increasingly unquiet, with the tensions going higher.
With the tension rising, we should expect it to reach the point she explodes, but with more than three hours of slow-paced movie, I was so bored that I wasn’t expecting anything anymore.
The visuals were unappealing as well. Way too dark, bland colors, and the house is ugly, the kind of house I felt uncomfortable visiting when I was a kid. The camera is way too static, probably for practical reasons, but doesn’t make more compelling.
Delphine Seyrig acting is fantastic, one of the most pleasant aspects of the movie, if not the most. The character is a delicate, polite, good-looking woman, the stereotype of the perfect housewife at that moment in time. The actress conveyed this idea to perfection.
Jeanne Dielman is a historical and fundamental piece of cinema, especially its significance within Feminism. Today, with names like Greta Gerwig, Karyn Kusama, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, and many others, it’s still not easy for women in this industry, imagine in the 70s.
However, the film is desperately boring. There are some things I like, but there are more things I dislike. I have a deep respect for what the movie represents, but I cannot ignore the many flaws. 4 Moons.