Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is a 1975 film by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman.

At 201 minutes, Jeanne Dielman examines a single mother's regimented schedule of cooking, cleaning and mothering over three days. The mother, Jeanne Dielman (whose name is only derived from the title), also prostitutes herself to a male client daily for her and her son's subsistence. Like her other activities Jeanne's prostitution is rote and uneventful. The picture's third day witnesses Jeanne's routine benignly unravel with events like dropping a newly washed spoon and appearing at businesses before opening. These alterations to Jeanne's existence climax when she unexpectedly orgasm's with her day's client. Following this coitus Jeanne stabs the male customer in the neck with scissors.

Upon its release, the New York Times called Jeanne Dielman the "first masterpiece of the feminine in the history of the cinema." Chantal Akerman scholar Ivone Margulies asserts the picture is a filmic paradigm for uniting "feminism and anti-illusionism." The film was named the 19th greatest film of the 20th Century by the Village Voice.

Jeanne Dielman's static framing, extended duration takes and lack of reversal shots force the viewer to objectively experience its protagonist and her social role's oppression. Through exposure to "images between the images" Akerman forges new content that, resultantly, requires new form. Though the filmmaker's static frame and extended duration shots stem from structural cinema, their unique application to women's domestic work position Jeanne Dielman outside dominant patriarchal film languages and into one specifically "feminist." The picture inverts normal filmic expectations by removing drama from emotional intensity and attaching it to extended duration takes - takes, that is, connotative of boredom. Jeanne Dielman's temporal dilation equalizes its exposition and drama to transform "knowledge of an object" - Jeanne's oppression - into a "vision" of it.



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