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Sight and Sound: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Sight and Sound: #1s
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine. (NR, 201 min.)


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Sight and Sound: #1s
The Greatest Films of All Time

Since 1952, the British Film Institute's publication, Sight and Sound, has been curating an iconic list of the greatest films of all time. Judges include film critics, programmers, curators, archivists, academics, directors, and filmmakers. Since the list's inception, this once-a-decade poll has crowned only four films #1. This collection is Free for Members.

Synopsis: A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow, whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or as 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. [Criterion]

Starring: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck
Director: Chantal Akerman
Language: French
Genre: Drama

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— Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"An avant-garde triumph."

— David Parkinson, Empire

"It is a game-changing masterpiece."

— Miami Herald, Rene Rodriguez

"Jeanne Dielman belongs to the rare class of films capable of transforming the world around you."

— Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times

"It also demands to be seen on the big screen, where the walls and ceiling of the cinema become the confines of Dielman’s domiciliary rituals."

— Kathleen Sachs, Chicago Reader

"This is a mesmerising piece of rhythmical film-making that's as courageously experimental as anything produced in the history of the avant garde."

— David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

"Jeanne Dielman is immersion cinema, a brilliant example of maximal minimalism that fuses viewer with subject so profoundly, the marathon experience transcends simple spectatorship."

— Stephen Garrett, Time Out

"Not only is it a stunning piece of filmmaking that is as rich in detail as it is patient in its exploration, but it also makes the most of absolutely every single element of its slice-of-life portrait."

— Chase Hutchinson, Collider

"Chantal Akerman’s 1975 experiment in film form, Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, is an astonishing work of subtextual feminism which has to count as one of the seminal films of the 1970s."

— Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

"It's astonishing Chantal Akerman was only 25 when she made this ... Movies are all too often reserved for stories of grand sacrifices - typically, male ones; Jeanne Dielman grants epic status to the everyday sacrifices of women."

— Adam Kempenaar, Filmspotting

"Chantal Akerman’s radical 1975 masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles turns the term “realism” on its face, exploring the contours of a woman’s life through the mundane routines that never make it into movies."

— Scott Tobias, The A.V. Club

"By placing so much emphasis on aspects of life and work that other films routinely omit, mystify, or skirt over, Akerman forges a major statement, not only in a feminist context but also in a way that tells us something about the lives we all live."

— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader