never released for home viewing in the united states until this week, jeanne dielman stands as a cinematic masterpiece with no equivalent. chantal AKERMAN’S film explores space and time as no other film has ever dared…[CONTINUED WITH TRAILER]
the viewer spends three and a half hours with jeanne played by delphine seyrig (last year at marienbad) as she goes about her daily routine of cooking, shopping, cleaning, bathing, and turning tricks in the afternoon. the film is entirely composed of long takes from a fixed camera producing symmetrical, frontal framings of jeanne and her routine. cinematic time is discarded for actual duration, so when jeanne peels potatoes, scrubs the bathtub, or eats soup there are no cuts or fast forwards and the viewer watches the entire act in real time. this creates an engrossing effect which allows the viewer to wander around the fixed frame, inhabit the space, and admire the tiles and wallpaper of the 20th century domestic experience. the structure of the film is divided into three days resulting in a sense of tension and expectation as the viewer adjusts and learns jeanne’s routine. the deliberate pacing and variations on her routine create a tension and the movie takes on the rhythms of a thriller with unexpected moments or accidents such as a dropped spoon exploding like a time bomb all leading up to an unforgettable climax. inspired by the works of andy warhol, michael snow, jean luc godard, and jonas mekas the film went on to inspire a generation of filmmakers which includes gus van sant, jim jarmusch, and todd haynes.