Dielman, Jean Dielman, Chantel Ackerman discussed on Filmspotting



A clip there from chantel Ackerman's 1975 film Jean dielman. It is the next movie in our overlooks auteurs marathon. So the three and a half hour deal men, it's been considered a masterpiece of feminist filmmaking since its debut. Consists of these long, static shots, a fixed camera of dielman, playing a housewife as she goes about her domestic duties. Duties which notably include prostitution, but I would say Adam, that isn't given any different of a portrayal than say folding the napkins that she also does each day. Absolutely. Akerman made her feature debut in 1972 with hotel Monterey, dielman followed in 1975. It made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. She went on to direct over 40 features, shorts, and documentaries before her death in 2015. She reportedly struggled with depression and it was called a suicide by friends and European news outlets. She was 65 years old. I go back to some of the feedback from our recent poll question about three hour plus movies and you heard some variations on the line Jacob britton had talking about Olivier assayas Carlos, where he remarked that every time he watches it, he watches it in one sitting and it just flies by. He said, he kind of wishes it was maybe even longer. Did you have a similar reaction, Josh, possibly? Dijon dielman? No, I mean, if it flew by, then the movie wouldn't be working because the point, I mean, the most obvious thing you can say about Jean dielman is the monotony is the point, right? This is it's a movie that's going to immerse us in the daily routine of this woman, played wonderfully. We got to spend some time on the performance by Delphine Serge. In these tasks. And it's important to sit in them in all their monotony so that we get to know them as well as she does, or almost as well as she does, and so that we will recognize eventually. It's basically three days in her life, right? So we will recognize eventually when the pattern changes, or shifts, and we begin to be curious. Why? What's going on here? When the camera, you know, is it maybe 20 minutes in with all of a sudden we get an angle from in the kitchen that we hadn't had before. I mean, it's like you sit up. It's startling. Right? And it's because now we get to notice new things. So or how about that touch? And I forget which day it is, but one of her routines is making the morning coffee for her son, sylvain, and as she pours the cup for herself, she just leans back against the wall for a minute, and this is something she hadn't done before. She lightly and playfully crosses one leg in front of the other. And it's almost, it's telling you, these 15 seconds belong to her. And what's crucial about that? It may seem like a minor detail. But it's because this is a story of a woman who has no time for herself. She has oodles of time by herself. More than she wants. But how many of those moments are for herself? We say see very few of them. And this is an incredibly sad and exhausting film not because of its length or because of its aesthetic, but it's because of the picture of a woman who is caring. All she does is care for others, specifically her son. Yes. And never receives care back. And so it's not that there is necessary something wrong with sacrificing yourself in this way. But a human being can't only do that. They can not sustain that. You need some love and return. She's not getting it from her her son, who, you know, you just want to strangle this movie, right? And she's not getting it from her male clients. That is purely business. Even a letter she gets from her sister that she reads. It's meaningful to her, but this letter comes from Canada from across the ocean. It is not sustaining her. It's not providing true care. And so you're seeing a person completely abandoned. And trying to keep up. Her routines, despite this, and eventually, as the third day comes about faltering in that effort. So this is incredibly suspenseful in a way that you wouldn't maybe expect or describe usually with the term suspenseful. But maybe it's just, you know, slow cinema is working for me more and more of the older I get at them. And so I did not find this a chore at all. I found it. I found it to be a masterpiece. I mean, we've got another masterpiece on our hands here with this marathon. After Maya deren, right? Yeah, we do. And everybody talks about Orson Welles being 25 years old when he made Citizen Kane. It's just astounding to watch John deeleman and realize that chantel akerman was 25 when she made this movie. It doesn't have the bravura or the brashness that Kane has. But I think it has the boldness though. I think it has for sure. Let me get there. Beyond the exactness of it, there is, I would say, an undeniable elegance still to the look. I think of, say rig's robes and the production design of the rooms and the greens and the browns, there's a kind of sameness. There's a kind of sterility, but also a symmetry and a style that is very pleasing here, and there is absolutely.

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