Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

A bored and lonely middle aged single mother (Delphine Seyrig) goes about her day-to-day chores in her modest Brusssels apartment while caring for her ineffectual teenaged son, entertaining an occasional gentlemen caller, and very, very gradually coming apart at the seams. Chantal Akerman's landmark feminist masterpiece is a meticulously observant, laborious, and immensely rewarding undertaking that no plot description could do any justice to (I personally was glad I saw it in theaters, removed from the many distractions of home viewing which would surely have diminished its effect). The film features a superb central performance and shocking denouement, and greatly makes the case for staging, set design, and valium.