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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (The Criterion Collection)

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles brillantly evokes, with meticulous detail and sense of impending doom, the daily domestic routine of a middle-aged widow - whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her grown son, and turning the occasional trick- just as it begins to break down. In its enormous spareness, Akerman's film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character portrait or one of cinema's most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades.

Stills from Jeanne Dielman (Click for larger image)





Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Yves Bical
  • Directors: Chantal Akerman
  • Writers: Chantal Akerman
  • Producers: Alain Dahan, Corinne Jénart, Evelyne Paul, Guy Cavagnac, Liliane de Kermadec
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 201 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AFX53C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,693 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

How great that Criterion is releasing this masterpiece! It's really impossible to describe this film. I saw it back in the eighties and since then have tried to explain to friends the techniques that Chantal Ackerman uses to tell her tale. Most shake their heads and wonder why someone would want to watch repetitive static shots of real-time, full-length, unedited actions of the main characters doing things like peeling and boiling potatoes, making coffee, making meatloaf, etc. The film has the pace of a Tarkovsky film (but without the pretentiousness), and it sounds as if it would be incredibly boring. At 200 minutes it will test you (especially if you aren't used to "art-house cinema"), but it works so well that you will be riveted by the smallest details and gestures. The action comes together (hint: or comes apart) perfectly, and it all makes sense in the (infamous) end. Throughout, you will find yourself joyously perplexed. There's humor and drama and perfectly scaled lulls and crescendos.

This is courageous and bold film making.

I saw the film again several months ago at SF MoMA, and the pure genius of it is undiminished. It is not dated, nor is it pretentious or overly artsy in its approach. I managed to drag along one of those friends who hadn't seen the film back in the eighties, and he was blown away. When the film ended, he turned to me and said, "Incredible" .
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As others have mentioned, this is a film unlike any ever made. Not only is it utterly original and distinctive, it took chances that filmmakers just don't take anymore - and it succeeded. The audience for Jeanne Dielman is certainly small. Most viewers would find this film slow and impenetrable, yet those are its strengths. Only through experiencing nearly every moment of Jeanne's life over several days does the viewer absorb the full impact of the film and appreciate its climax. I've never seen such a pure, personal vision of film created so successfully and I have no doubt that when people discuss 20th century filmmaking in several hundred years, this film will be a part of that discussion. If you sit through all 3 hours and follow it closely, you'll never forget this film, even if you think you don't like it. For me, it's one of the high points in cinema history and more than any other film ever made, it stands alone, sui generis - one of a kind. And, everyone who loves the movies is better off because of it.
And, for those who don't "get" this film, fear not: the next Adam Sandler movie and Saw IX will be coming to a multiplex near you, soon.
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In the unnerving silence of a sparsely furnished kitchen in Brussels, a poised, anonymous middle-aged woman (Delphine Seyrig) - identified only through the title of the film as Jeanne Dielman - completes her food preparation, places the contents into a large cooking pot on the stove, reaches for a match, lights the burner, and with chronological precision, finishes replacing the matchbox from its original location as the doorbell rings, switching the lights off as she leaves the room. The scene then cuts to an unusually framed shot of a truncated Jeanne at the entrance of the apartment as she accepts a hat and coat from an unidentified guest (Henri Storck) before retreating, out of view, into a bedroom at the end of the hallway. Moments later, the obscured image is reconnected to a familiar referential framing of the darkened hallway as the unknown guest re-emerges from the room and prepares to leave, handing Jeanne a pre-arranged sum of money before confirming their next appointment for the following week. She deposits the money in a soup tureen in the dining room, then returns to the kitchen to attend to the boiling pot, before tidying the bedroom and meticulously bathing and changing clothes after the encounter. And so Jeanne's monotonous daily ritual unfolds through the tedium of household chores, impersonal sexual transactions, trivial errands, and alienated conversations with her son, Sylvain (Jan Decorte), revealing the silent anguish of disconnection and systematic erosion of the human soul.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is a visually rigorous, uncompromising, and understatedly harrowing portrait of alienation, repression, and marginalization.
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Is Jeanne Dielman Plodding? yes. Is it Dull? absolutely. Plotless? Yeah Sort of. But is it also Unforgettable? Absolutely. True, Even lovers of the most artsy avant-garde films might flinch at the idea of sitting down to watch a middle-class French woman do chores for three hours. But by the end you will know what you came for, and you won't forget the payoff. Not ever. Dielman is one of those films that trudges it's way into the tiny, little corpuscles of your mind and supplants itself there with an authoritarian fist, or maybe a Martha Stewart one. Some days you'll be in the kitchen peeling a depressing sack of soil-brown potatoes, or vacuuming a long lonesome hallway, or whatever, and you'll think suddenly to yourself, all the while sighing, ah poor Jeanne Dielman...I know now how you feel. This has happened on multiple occasions to me, and it serves only as a testament to Akerman's brilliant accomplishment with this film, and not to mention the ability of film to alter personal perceptions of everyday reality. I think the painter Vermeer might've liked this film, or maybe he wouldn't have, who cares what the heck Vermeer thinks or thought, take in the tragic beauty of this film for yourself (in one 200 minute gulp if possible) and watch your life change. Trust me, your kitchen will never look the same again.
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