Susan Rethorst: Retro(intro)spective Movie Night: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Chantal Akerman's feminist masterpiece shares several qualities with Susan's dance, an austerity, a fixation with the quotidian, and the ability to bring gesture into sharper focus. In Susan's work the dance is performed with a feeling of ordinariness and methodical care similar to how Jeanne (Delphine Seyrig), a widowed housewife, quietly enacts her daily chores such as dusting, dressing, undressing, and making meatloaf. Akerman depicts two nearly identical days in Jeanne's life. The film's quiet mood is amplified by cinematographer Babette Mangolte's static framing. Its severe structure forces a very real identification with its protagonist, similar to the way in Susan's work the emotional drama is there but unspoken.

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