Release year: 2009
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A classic of both feminist and experimental filmmaking, Chantal Akerman's marathon dissection of the life of Belgian housewife/mother/prostitute Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig) stays on the surface of the details of Jeanne's humdrum daily life, as if it were a real-life, real-time documentary of an ordinary life, in the tradition of Agnès Varda's earlier New Wave landmark, Cleo From 5 to 7 (1961). Jeanne feeds her son, fixes potatoes, does the marketing, entertains gentlemen -- but things slowly, almost imperceptibly start to go wrong, first those potatoes, and then, finally, something more shocking.
Akerman sets out to capture the rhythm of daily life, even as that pace sets us up, after several hours, for the almost tossed-off, blink-and-you'll-miss-it climax.