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.
Jeanne Dielman, a lonely young widow, lives with her son Sylvain following an immutable order: while the boy is in school, she cares for their apartment, does chores, and receives clients in the afternoon.Written by
The film's festival selections included: Edinburgh International Film Festival (1975, 1976 and 1979), Locarno Film Festival (1975), Regus London Film Festival (November 1975), International Film Festival of India (New Delhi, January 1979), Berlin International Film Festival (June 1975), Sydney Film Festival (1976). See more »
From around 01:11:18 to 01:11:36, we can see the boom mic on right of the frame. See more »
I met your father after the Americans had left. I was living with my aunts, because my parents were dead. One Saturday, I went to the Bois de la Cambre with a girlfriend. I don't remember the weather. She knew him. You know who I mean. I've shown you her picture. So, we began seeing each other. I was working as a billing clerk for horrible pay. Life with my aunts was dull. I didn't feel like getting married, but it seemed to be "the thing to do," as they say. My aunts kept saying "He's nice. ...
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Vivid, uncompromising portrait of three days in the lonely life of a middle aged widow who manages her apartment, takes care of her young son and turns tricks for support.
Experimental film consists of stationary, single take camera shots - some lasting several minutes - giving you a glimpse of the main character's repetitive, mundane existence. Whether its stopping at a café to drink coffee, peeling a batch of potatoes in the kitchen or cleaning each porcelain piece in her living room, viewers sit through each arduous task all the way through. It reminded me of some modern day reality shows where a camera is just parked in a room and viewers watch whatever goes on - only in this case Jeanne is usually the only one there.
Delphine Seyrig performance as Jeanne really shines. She is in every scene of the film and really carries it well. It is even more impressive considering that there is very little dialog and that any other characters that appear are peripheral. Seyrig convincingly conveys Jeanne's character and emotional state by simple actions and subtle expressions. This really comes into play on the third day when things start to go wrong and you feel the character is starting to become unhinged.
The camera work and framing of the scenes are exceptionally well done and sound is used very effectively to convey Jeanne's suffocating world. The constant tapping of her shoes as she walks across a wooden floor, the repeated clicking from turning lights on and off, or the mechanical sounds of the elevator each time she goes in or out of her apartment building, they all emphasize the obsessive orderliness and emotional detachment in her life.
The biggest negative about the film is that it is nearly 4 hours long. Sitting that long watching a person doing menial tasks is a bit taxing. I viewed the film piecemeal over three successive evenings (1 for each day represented) which worked for me. On the positive side, the film does grow on you as you watch it and you feel like a bit of a voyeur peering into someone's life. You feel Jeanne's monotony and growing frustration which lets loose in the final shocking act. It's worth checking out.
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