Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

  • 202'
  • France
  • 1975

Jeanne, who lives with her teenage son, fills her empty life with an endless checklist of chores. She cooks, cleans, shops, and every afternoon, in the window of time it takes for the dinner potatoes to boil, she has sex for money with a gentleman caller. Three days in the repetitive existence of this middle-class widow in her forties are revealed through static, head-on compositions and unblinking blocks of real time.

A cornerstone of feminist cinema, the film was made with about 80 per cent women in the crew, including cinematographer Babette Mangolte and editor Patricia Canino. The film remains a frequent subject of scholarly and critical analysis on aspects ranging from women’s social experience and gendered identities to cinematic form and psychoanalytic film theory. For Akerman, who grew up in a devout Jewish household in Brussels where “life was organised by rituals”, it is above all a very personal film: “It came from what I saw as a kid − all those gestures of my mother. That’s why the film is so precise.”

Thanks to Collections CINEMATEK − @ Chantal Akerman Foundation.

Director
Chantal Akerman
Countries of production
France, Belgium
Year
1975
Festival Edition
IFFR 2020
Length
202'
Medium
DCP
Language
French
Producer
Chantal Akerman
Production Company
Paradise Films
Sales
Cinematek
Screenplay
Chantal Akerman
Cinematography
Babette Mangolte
Editor
Patricia Canino
Production Design
Philippe Graff
Cast
Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Yves Bical