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Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Not Rated | | Drama | 21 January 1976 (France)
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.

Director:

Chantal Akerman (as Chantal Anne Akerman)

Writer:

Chantal Akerman
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Delphine Seyrig ... Jeanne Dielman
Jan Decorte Jan Decorte ... Sylvain Dielman
Henri Storck ... 1st Caller
Jacques Doniol-Valcroze Jacques Doniol-Valcroze ... 2nd Caller
Yves Bical Yves Bical ... 3rd Caller
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Storyline

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 Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Belgium | France

Language:

French

Release Date:

21 January 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Jeanne Dielman See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$19,858
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot with an all-female crew. See more »

Goofs

On the morning of Day 2, as Jeanne is polishing her son's shoes in the kitchen, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen moving along the white curtains and wall behind her. See more »

Quotes

[repeated lines]
Jeanne Dielman: Sleep tight.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Bagatelle for Piano
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The structure of bourgeois emptiness
1 September 2009 | by hasoschSee all my reviews

The title-character Jeanne Dielman is a widow in her early forties, played by the unforgettable and very untimely passed Delphine Seyrig, with an almost grown-up sun. Her life follows that structure of time which people impose in order to cover their emptiness. The days of one specific week follow exactly the same pattern as every week. She basically gets up, prepares breakfast, cleans the shoes of her son, spends a bit time before preparing her own frugal midday-bread, looks for knitting utensils in the afternoon, before she starts her big cooking of the day, again for her son. Then they listen radio, make a short walk, come home again and go to bed. This son seems not think that it is necessary to say good-day, to ask his mother how she is doing, to tell her if he likes what she cooks. Even this one time, when she discloses him that she used less water for the sauce of the ragout, he just stays quiet. But he, too, seems to follow the same pattern: His mother asks him every single time not to read while he is eating - he just does it again during the next dinner. She does not even raise her voice: Although every day is a perfect mirror image of the last and of the next, she seems to conceive it every time as new. She has to, since she is completely isolated from society, even from her own son.

In the afternoons, however, she earns her money by selling her sexuality to regular customers who seem to visit her once a week. The earned money she puts into a big porcelain pot on a table. The time seems to have stopped in her apartment: Although the house looks like from about 1900, the apartment shows all typical style characteristics of the 50ies, and so does her way of clothing. She obviously became once a part of her apartment. Since the movie does not tell us if Mrs. Dielman gets a widow-rent from her deceased husband, we must assume that selling her body is her way of making a living. She does not enjoy her sexuality, she does it with exactly the same mechanical accuracy as she opens every morning a little closet underneath the sink, previously stocked with old newspapers, grasps a few sheets, puts them precisely in the middle of the little kitchen-table, waxes the shoes, etc. Not only the time has stood still 20 years before the time of the movie, also the structures have been frozen, the sense is gone. Repetition kills the emergency of innovation and abolishes the rest of sense in mechanical processes. However, a human deprived from his senses can possibly better stand a life that also has stopped long ago.


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