- Amir Steklov
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels - (1975)
Director: Chantal Akerman.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels is a film that is likely to leave many viewers feeling disappointed and frustrated. Directed by Chantal Akerman, the film is a slow-paced and tedious examination of the mundane daily routine of a middle class sex worker, played by Delphine Seyrig.
The film is shot in a static, long-take style that feels more like watching someone's home videos rather than a feature film. The story, such as it is, follows Jeanne as she goes about her mundane daily routine of cooking, cleaning, and entertaining a series of men. There is no real plot, and the film feels more like a documentary of someone's daily life than a fictional story. The peaceful routine slowly brakes as Jeanne Dielman is getting more and more comfterble and anxious. At the end all that buildup explodes in a murder scene of one of her sexual customers.
The film's pacing is incredibly slow and the lack of action and dialogue makes it difficult to stay engaged. The film's themes of femininity, motherhood, and sex-work are not explored in depth and it got me the feeling the filmmakers are afraid to make strong statements or to anger the audience of that time.
Additionally, the film's technical aspects are also a problem. The murder scene at the end was poorly executed with obviously fake violence and blood, and bad performances. There are also many mistakes during the film, such as microphones in the frame, people on the street looking directly at the camera, out-of-focus scenes and under-exposed night scenes.
It's worth noting that the film has received a lot of critical acclaim and has been considered a feminist classic by some critics and film scholars. However, for a general audience, it can be hard to appreciate the film's "artistic value" if the storytelling, pacing and technical execution are not engaging.
Overall, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels is a film that is likely to leave many viewers feeling disappointed and frustrated. Despite its critical success, it's a tedious and slow-paced examination of the mundane with poor technical execution.
Verdict: 1 / 5 ★ - Academic exercise.