484 Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

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R0lf
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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#126 Post by R0lf » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:49 am

I think they just went for a walk around the block to get exercise after dinner.

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foggy eyes
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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#127 Post by foggy eyes » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:02 pm

R0lf wrote:I think they just went for a walk around the block to get exercise after dinner.
That was my first thought too, but as no other events of the evening appear to be omitted it would mean that they go to bed awfully early...

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Matango
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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#128 Post by Matango » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:55 pm

Maybe they went to watch TV through a store window :shock:

On a more serious note, the extras on disc 2 revealed something that I would never have realised. According to Akerman, JD had her first ever orgasm with John 2 and then another with John 3, and these were what set her off. How were we supposed to know that? I doubt even the Johns knew.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#129 Post by Ishmael » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:45 pm

Matango wrote:According to Akerman, JD had her first ever orgasm with John 2 and then another with John 3, and these were what set her off. How were we supposed to know that? I doubt even the Johns knew.
Actually, I figured she had an orgasm with John 3 (it's the only moment in the film where she looks to be experiencing pleasure). I immediately thought of the old phrase "when you start to come with the customers, it's time to get out of the game." I suppose that's as good a motivation as any for
SpoilerShow
the story's dramatic climax.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#130 Post by bearcuborg » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:37 am

Here is my submission for their cooking contest. http://www.vimeo.com/6803182

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#131 Post by Tribe » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:28 pm

Ishmael wrote: Actually, I figured she had an orgasm with John 3 (it's the only moment in the film where she looks to be experiencing pleasure). I immediately thought of the old phrase "when you start to come with the customers, it's time to get out of the game." I suppose that's as good a motivation as any for
SpoilerShow
the story's dramatic climax.
I thought this was so obvious to me it couldn't have been what Ackerman intended to convey to the viewer. But, since I'm not the only thinking this I'd go a step further and add that it's all the little things and domestic events that "go wrong" for her, break her routine, that allow her to get off with that last John. Anyone think I'm wrong on this?

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#132 Post by Nothing » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:13 pm

-


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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#134 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:24 pm

Spoilers:

I suppose that first off I should say that I thought it was extremely amusing and rather apt that these were the first static menu screens that I can remember there being on a Criterion disc for a good few years!

I managed to sit down with Jeanne Dielman over the weekend and thought it was a fascinating film, maybe a little flawed and confused in some parts but those ‘flaws’ only add to the interest. I was constantly struggling with the suggestion of verisimilitude of the drawn out sequences contrasted against a carefully structured, albeit extremely pared down, narrative that suggests that there was not an aim to destroy narrative, just use it in a different manner – to show the way that the most minor actions are filled with meaning and even emotion and perhaps that by skipping over what might seem to be the boring stuff other films miss the build up to the more exciting and dramatic actions, and in a way make them cruder (or understandable in a more limited, ‘outsider looking in’ manner) and more extreme by what they omit. Jeanne Dielman is as narrative as any dramatic film but it takes an actively contrarian approach to its subject, missing out the moments of action or interest in jump cuts - the deceptive elements that create only superficial feeling of ‘content’ or ‘progression’ until when finally those moments are shown they end up seeming too extreme and out of place in the film as much as household chores would seem out of place in another dramatic film.

I liked the oppressive feeling to the film – the weight of everyday life preventing anything but a glimmer of an inner life, or inner feelings for the characters. Those repeated camera positions with the slightest variation becoming an event in itself suggest both the comfort of the familiar with everything in its proper place but also the feeling of being trapped in a never ending routine of minor jobs just to keep in one place, let alone to progress in life.

There is a beauty though in that routine. Making a meal can on the one hand seem an exercise in futility in the way that it is such a transient event. The way the film follows the entire process of making the meal, eating it entirely and then clearing the dishes away (along with the washing up the next morning) because it encompasses the entire process sort of gives it that futility by showing how small and inconsequential an event it is. However that wonderful, though brief, moment when Jeanne perks up as her son comes home from the first time, along with the way she savours every drop of the soup and time with her son in that first meal, makes all the effort seem more than worth it.

It seems that this first day from the first to second client shows everything running smoothly and they way they are intended to, highlighting the changes and mistakes in routine that occur after the second client visits, eventually building to the explosion in the third client’s visit. I also think it was a neat idea to start the film with a bang, as Jeanne meets up with her client before the rest of her routine is established, and then we get the only nude scene as she cleans herself thoroughly after her encounter. It is interesting that this along with the final murder could be seen as bookending ‘extreme’ moments around a centre of superficial normality.

There always feels as if there is a threat of danger or disruption hanging over the film though, showing the film does concede to demands of narrative action or interest, even though it is done in the most low key way such as the string bag briefly catching on the beer bottles after the first shopping trip which builds with the milk threatening to spill (and which likely would if it had not been caught in time, unlike the beer bottles which just rock slightly) the next day. Personally I found the most tension in the film came from the proximity of the curtains next to the cooker – perhaps this is just my over paranoid modern day electric cooker perspective on this situation but I was waiting for either the curtain or the kitchen towels on the other side of the cooker to burst into flames every time Jeanne walked off leaving the cooker unattended!

I suppose as a kind of obsessive compulsive person myself I loved the way that the film emphasised the importance of rituals to give order and meaning to life. And the way they break down or fail Jeanne - the casual conversations with the lady dropping off her baby turns into the wordless dropping off and picking up the next day; the formal chat arranging the repair of her son’s shoes becomes the fruitless trek from shop to shop looking for a particular kind of button; the briskly efficient clerk turns into a struggle with the mechanised machine outside the closed post office (which reminded me a little of Richard Linklater’s It’s Impossible To Learn To Plow By Reading Books, where in his commentary near the end Linklater talks of wanting to capture the process of using these kinds of alienating, uncompromising machines)

Actually on that sequence in the post office where Jeanne is shown from the back preparing her letters I was reminded quite powerfully of events from my own life as a young kid watching my parents doing ‘grown up’ things such as watching them writing out cheques at the bank. Jeanne also seems framed from a child’s eye point of view in that scene, looking slightly up at her, and I wonder if this plays into the way that during this first day she seems authoritative and in charge of her own life and that she dictates the actions of the camera and the reasons for where the camera is placed where it is in the scenes, efficiently and crisply capturing the actions. During the second day the camera in its positioning and editing between shots seems to be capturing her fall from grace as it is there in readiness to capture the ‘correct’ action but Jeanne is making mistakes in her routine that leads to unexpected changes. It is interesting to think that the mise en scene is the factor in the film that creates not just a sense of unease but also a feeling of disappointment that its idol is not living up to expectations. Yet Jeanne is becoming more human – the ‘grown up’ actions are more our outsiders perspective, not just the perspective of the child idolising a grown up (without yet recognising that ‘grown up’ actions that suggest such freedom are slavish entrapping rituals in themselves) but also the audience looking to the lead character for guidance before realising that they have to in a way be a participant in the work themselves without looking for a surrogate character to live vicariously through. By the end of the film I think we are perhaps more distant from Jeanne but at the same time Jeanne is a fuller character by that point too – we’re not experiencing a murder as if we were doing it ourselves, but instead as compassionate observers of events, compassionate because of a kind of shared history that creates a connection.

Of course the event that sets things off kilter in the second day is the encounter with the second client. I thought it was interesting that in the extra features Ackerman says that it was Jeanne experiencing an orgasm for a first time with this client that leads to her carefully ordered life collapsing. I have to admit with just the flustered aftermath to judge from, I had initially just gone with an interpretation of a rather rough sexual encounter that had thrown her off balance. In a certain way though the ideas that came to mind from this more violent interpretation could apply in both circumstances – that perhaps the prospect of this weekly encounter having to be accommodated into her regular routine as well is what conspires to push her over the edge and to start contemplating her life again.

I like the way that the omissions become more associated with those elements that go to plan and therefore are missed by a mind distracted by other things – so the meal with the son that Jeanne seemed to be savouring every moment of (even if the son himself seems oblivious!) gets completely cut out of the second day. We see the involved preparations of the meal, including the most emotional potato peeling scene ever filmed (which I mean sincerely, since that and the scenes of going up to the flat in the lift show the character having moments of contemplation forced onto her instead of being able to keep mindlessly busy), which stands in stark contrast to the later problems with the taste of the coffee being pored over in excruciating detail.

It makes me think of the way that an extreme experience, good or bad, can sometimes be strong enough to throw you off balance for the rest of the day, and maybe even cause longer contemplation.

I also liked the way that the portrayal of the characters again seems to be consciously trying to play against expectations. For example we could be left with a negative image of the son when he asks for some extra money on the second day (but maybe we only feel that way because we have more of an inkling about what Jeanne has to do to earn that money, so feel more sensitive about it being frittered away), yet he does not ask for extra money the next day which could suggest that he is not a sponger and that it was just an isolated request. Similarly the baby that Jeanne looks after seems very quiet on the first visit so we may be upset at the way the child is just abandoned while she goes to sit alone in the kitchen, yet on the next visit when Jeanne is in need of some distraction and wants to play it cries its head off. It makes Jeanne seem more sympathetic as if she is trying to make contact for the first time but is rebuffed by the belligerent baby and is forced to retreat back to the kitchen and her sandwich. I was also left interested in the other female characters in the film (the sister in Canada, the woman she babysits for who we only hear, the female shopkeeper) – are all their lives as empty as Jeanne’s but disguised by banalities and rituals, or are we meant to consider Jeanne’s life as being an extreme version of reality, given that it includes prostitution?

One issue I think I might have with the film is the question of how long this routine has been going on for before the film begins. In a way, like the events that occur in the jump cuts, it affects how I would respond to the entire film and without some idea of the entire life of Jeanne I don’t know if I can properly judge the film as a success. To go back to the idea of the film attempting to encompass the totality of an event (of washing, cleaning, shopping or cooking), it seems impossible to properly judge the relationships between Jeanne and her world without seeing the rest of her life before and after these few days - as it stands it seems like content without context. If she was driven to breaking point by just three banal days would that be less acceptable, or lead to her being considered less sympathetic, than if she had been struggling in this role for years? Perhaps that is the central point of the film though – the impossibility of judging based firstly on the few moments of another’s life that we may be witness too, and then by the way we perceive what we see (or more importantly, the way we as observers feel while we are observing something that itself has an impact on the way we see the world). Does the particular address have a meaning that is lost on me that might affect my perspective if I knew about it? What does the flat being close to a street with a constant flashing light outside the window tell us about the social context of the mother and son? Or is it left sketchily opaque so that anything can be read into it depending on how we are feeling in ourselves at the time?

I wondered if there was a link to be made to Belle de Jour? Maybe Jeanne Dielman could be seen as the negative image of a moonlighting housewife, with the emphasis on the attempt to keep the façade of a normal world intact than on flights of fantasy even though both films focus on the emotional effects of such a lifestyle.

I also ended up thinking of a few contemporary films that I could relate to this one – for example The Atrocity Exhibition with its characters displaying compulsive behaviours (as the director says in the commentary track the act of walking in and out of rooms or absent mindedly picking up and object and putting it down suggests an inability to be ‘done’ with an action, like going back to make absolutely sure that the front door is locked when you leave the house, even though you are sure you locked the door!) made me wonder about actions being performed just to fill time. Is it worse to just sit and stare at the wall or to fill every moment of your waking day with mindless activity to distract from the pointlessness? Or is it just that one action is acceptable and another (in)action is not allowed because it too obviously shows a person feels troubled?

Irreversible also came to mind in the sense that it also involves a sexual encounter that leads to the ‘wrong’ person being killed as a final ironic punchline - though if we follow the Ackerman comment that it was Jeanne having another orgasm with this third client and not wanting it to become a regular thing that lead to her actions, perhaps it is related more due to the latent violence in seemingly ordinary relationships that is just waiting for the opportunity to find cathartic release.

I particularly thought of that episode of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads series, A Lady of Letters with Patricia Routledge. Jeanne might end up in the same position of finding prison life to not be that much different from her usual routines (maybe down to the sexual interludes as a bartering tool!) and could maybe enjoy organising the prisoners with military efficiency or working in the canteen! I would perhaps disagree therefore with david hare's suggestion that this is a complete break with her way of life before the murder - in a way perhaps she can feel her ordered life about to change and stifles that upcoming change by retreating to a place where she knows there will be simple rules to follow without deviation - she destroys her life to retain security, when a really shocking break from the norm would have been to change the routine of her life without resorting to such a drastic action, maybe just by cancelling some of her clients (though we have already seen the consequences that follow from having a free hour in the day where nothing needs to be done, so maybe even that would not be a wise move!)

While I thought that final sustained shot was a perfect end to the film (with the pulsing of the sign outside that was so irritating early on in the film becoming almost rhythmically hypnotic and a perfect expression of Jeanne’s troubled, cyclic mindstate), I should also admit to being a little disappointed that Ackerman’s film did not end with a long methodical post-shower scene in Psycho clean up of the crime scene and corpse disposal sequence! :D

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Feego
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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#135 Post by Feego » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:36 am

Does anyone know where I can find a high-res image of the original "Jeanne Dielman" poster? I've tried Google search, but the images that turned up were extremely low-res. And nothing turned up at all on various movie poster websites (not that I'm surprised).

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#136 Post by kinemax » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:54 am

For someone who already owns the Belgian set, is it worth a double-dip -- e.g., better video quality and/or subtitle translation?

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#137 Post by Wu.Qinghua » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:34 pm

kinemax wrote:For someone who already owns the Belgian set, is it worth a double-dip -- e.g., better video quality and/or subtitle translation?
Have a look at the beaver review, kinemax ...

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#138 Post by hangman » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:53 pm

kinemax wrote:For someone who already owns the Belgian set, is it worth a double-dip -- e.g., better video quality and/or subtitle translation?
IMO not really, sure there are the stuff going for it as the beaver review points out but in the end you've got 4 other film in the cineart boxset, and if you end up planning to get the Eclipse it ends up pretty redundant. While there is slightly more extras, with the added interview (minus another though its not such a loss since Les rendevous anna wasn't that good) and booklet (which you can read online anyways), in the end its still a close copy. Even then if I were to say double dip Masters of Cinema is planning to release the complete set as well in the future, and chances are there will be more exclusive extras there so if anything I'd hold out double dipping on the criterion for the Masters of Cinema instead (though as noted it'll be a while before they get to doing it).

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#139 Post by ezmbmh » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:34 pm

Well, I resisted this big time for the first day, praying for a jump cut, a dolly, anything, saying over and over “I get it! The deathlike tedium of routine! But do we need to see every single dish washed and every crumb picked off the table? And there’s three more hours?”

Then day two and the events at the Post Office, the babysitting, the lovely rictus smile on Delphine Seyrig’s face (Julianne Moore without the Ritalin) growing lines and small hard muscles. By day three I was not only hooked, I couldn’t stop watching every move she made, and what I’d dismissed as repetitive mise-en-scene—the hallways made to be empty, the doors to be closed, lights to be turned out, beds to be swaddled and hidden—took on an aspect of entrapping me, minute by minute, along with her.
SpoilerShow
Her dropping the shoe brush was a gun shot, burning the potatoes a real—not ironic--catastrophe.
It felt, perhaps oddly enough, like a great “experience it as it happens” horror film, like Blair Witch (yeah I loved it, first time in the dark, anyway) where you want to get up and leave and you can’t.
SpoilerShow
As to the end, I bought it (though if murder was this easy, wouldn’t we all try it?). The most moving, intolerable, poignancy of the film was that it’s not only about accepting the trap, you need to love it, to maintain it, to make keeping it functioning your main purpose, your only shot. And when she finally explodes it, she sits there, in a whole new-undoubtedly worse—trap. And yet, she almost smiles at one moment—free.
A modern horror classic. Dante in real time.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#140 Post by Mark Metcalf » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:40 pm

While I admire the film, Jeanne Dielman, I can't imagine what I would gain by ever watching it a 2nd time.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#141 Post by tajmahal » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:18 pm

Mark Metcalf wrote:While I admire the film, Jeanne Dielman, I can't imagine what I would gain by ever watching it a 2nd time.
I feel the same. I'm glad I watched it, but at over three hours, I could re-watch two Jacques Tatis', and that would be so much more rewarding. (I DO think I could watch Tati peel a bag of potatoes more than once, though)

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#142 Post by tartarlamb » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:06 pm

Really? I find the film very entertaining. The excess detail is so meticulously arranged, and the sense of composition is immaculate. Its eye candy. And Delphine Seyrig's nervous laboring adds a nervous and kinetic energy that belies the quietness and stillness. I'm with ezmbmh on this one: seeing the building and cultivation of a ritual of domestic labor, and its gradual, subtle breakdown actually makes for some enthralling, even nail-biting, cinema. The film is a lot more than the cheap thrill of a surprise ending. Multiple viewings can be pretty rewarding.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#143 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:04 am

This is the only film I've ever seen that made potatoes exciting.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#144 Post by jbeall » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:22 pm

I watched it recently and was quite surprised to find it riveting. Actually, I agree with ezmbmh that it's viewable as a horror film. The first time I watched The Exorcist, a large part of the suspense and horror came every time the priests were walking up the staircase. Every time I was terrified of what the girl would look like this time. As Jeanne's routine begins to break down, I had the same sense of unease--what's she going to mess up next?--and kept expecting that at any moment she'd go off the rails.

Honestly, I didn't expect to like the film nearly as much as I did, but for me this is one of Criterion's best releases from the past year, and I could see going back to it again from time to time.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#145 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:15 am

Oh, so, does anyone know what that light was outside the living room window?

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#146 Post by ezmbmh » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:58 pm

I'm guessing some neon sign, there's a weird patterning effect, if I recall correctly. Whatever it is physically, it's another use of light--like the way she uses turning out the light in the hallway, the bedroom--and clearly a metaphor for the numbing randomness and repetition without meaning that finally becomes intolerable.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#147 Post by Napier » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:04 pm

So, Jeanne never goes and picks her sons shoes up that she left with the cobbler? The film was 201 minutes, and it really irked me. Just something I noticed. :-k

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#148 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:09 pm

She was a little busy with other things I guess.

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#149 Post by ezmbmh » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:25 pm

Next on her to-do list

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Re: 484 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

#150 Post by Tom Hagen » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:40 pm

Spoiler tags, guys!!!1!

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