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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am 
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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

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A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles brilliantly evokes, with meticulous detail and a sense of impending doom, the daily domestic routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her grown son, and turning the occasional trick—just as it begins to break down. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character portrait or 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, and is finally making its long-awaited DVD debut.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET

- Restored digital transfer, approved by director Chantal Akerman
- Autour de Jeanne Dielman, a 70-minute documentary, shot by actor Sami Frey and edited by Agnes Ravez, made during the filming of Jeanne Dielman
- New interviews with Akerman and cinematographer Babette Mangolte
- Excerpt from Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman, a 1997 episode of the French television program Cinéma de notre temps
- An interview with Akerman’s mother, Natalia
- Archival television interview excerpt featuring Akerman and star Delphine Seyrig
- Saute ma ville (1968), Akerman’s first film, with an introduction by the director
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film scholars Ivone Margulies and Janet Bergstrom

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:58 pm 
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It will be playing at Film Forum January 23-29.

Can anyone who has seen this comment on it

Here is something from The New York Times


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:11 pm 
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Dadapass wrote:
Can anyone who has seen this comment on it

Here is something from The New York Times

Lotsa commentary on Akerman and this film in various spots:

The Akerman box set thread
1970s List Discussion thread (but it'll be a bit of a trawl)

If this is really the first dedicated thread for the film, then it's long overdue!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:24 am 
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This is a film I'm definitely intrigued by and wish to see (hopefully the film print will make its way around the country), but as someone who knows the "twist" of the film already, I'm curious if the lead up is diminished at all by the knowledge of what is going to happen? I would love some feedback from people who've seen the film.

Also, is this film typical of Akerman's body of work as a whole (either aesthetically or politcally) or is it an anomaly?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:40 am 
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Antoine Doinel wrote:
This is a film I'm definitely intrigued by and wish to see (hopefully the film print will make its way around the country), but as someone who knows the "twist" of the film already, I'm curious if the lead up is diminished at all by the knowledge of what is going to happen?

Absolutely not. Although I'm one of the (seemingly) few poeople who couldn't give a toss about spoilers in the first place, simply knowing what will happen is completely irrelevant here. Akerman is concerned primarily with form, duration and the smallest details/gestures rather than plot, so the mere revelation of the "narrative twist" (if one could even call it that) is the least of the film's pleasures. When you see it, you'll know what I mean!

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Also, is this film typical of Akerman's body of work as a whole (either aesthetically or politcally) or is it an anomaly?

Definitely "typical" (to a certain extent) of her 1970s work and Toute une nuit. My viewing gets sketchy after that, so I'd have to let someone else comment on her entire body of work. The Belgian DVD set released by Cinéart is utterly essential and has English subs on everything (Beaver review).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:13 am 
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Well, as one of the few who disliked the film, knowing the twist in advance would have made the three hours all the more painful. At least on the first pass, I thought the film would have been brave enough to maintain its clip without resorting to a cheap finale. Knowing that it isn't would have erased the benefit of the doubt I had afforded the film during my initial viewing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:51 pm 
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For a long time, the ending was about all I did know of the film. I didn't realise it was a secret. I'm sort of with domino - I think it's unnecessary and simplistic - but it doesn't destroy the rest of the film for me, since part of the problem with the ending is that the film's strengths are irrelevant to the ending, and vice versa.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:38 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Well, as one of the few who disliked the film, knowing the twist in advance would have made the three hours all the more painful. At least on the first pass, I thought the film would have been brave enough to maintain its clip without resorting to a cheap finale. Knowing that it isn't would have erased the benefit of the doubt I had afforded the film during my initial viewing.

You're overlooking the mastery of Akerman's craft if you only focus on the finale. I agree that ending is misfires, in fact it is even worse than that - it's dated. However, the conception off all that proceeds it makes it exceptional.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:40 pm 

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Looking forward to this - I have intriguing, if vague memories of my two encounters with The Meetings of Anna during a specialized course I had to take twice back in college. During each screening of Anna (a year apart) I along with much of the rest of the class perpetually faded in and out of consciousness. We were young, the hour was late, and the instructor singularly uninspiring. But I'm excited now - I liked what I saw, and want to look deeper into Akerman's work.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Since this is listed on the Film Forum website as a Janus Films release, should this be moved to the Criterion Rumors and News section?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:53 pm 
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zedz wrote:
For a long time, the ending was about all I did know of the film. I didn't realise it was a secret. I'm sort of with domino - I think it's unnecessary and simplistic - but it doesn't destroy the rest of the film for me, since part of the problem with the ending is that the film's strengths are irrelevant to the ending, and vice versa.

I don't agree with this. For me, much of the point of the methodology of the rest of the picture lies in the ending. In other words, I think it's a mistake to reduce it to only its effect as "surprise" or "secret". It is, in fact, a culmination point and a rupture point, as though the reveal of the truth of Jeanne's activities inevitably functions disruptively despite Jeanne's own attempts to make these activities manageable by normatizing them and softening their psychic impact through a subsumption into the organic fabric of banal everyday action. A kind of quiescence reasserts itself on the other side of her act (in that great final image), but the reveal of her "secret life" prior to her decisive action (which is what leads to the decisive action) has permanently disrupted our ability to be complicit with her own psychic efforts at diminishment.

bearcuborg wrote:
I agree that ending is misfires, in fact it is even worse than that - it's dated. However, the conception off all that proceeds it makes it exceptional.


I'm not sure what you mean here. Once again, I'm not convinced that "all that proceeds it" on its own as a separate depiction would necessarily give us much insight into anything other than a depiction of what we may perceive as numbing routine. But is that on its own terms all that insightful no matter how masterfully it's done?

Also, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "dated". I suppose you're saying that Jeanne's predicament, her circumstance, is perhaps a product of a time in which women had fewer choices and less education. But that's a reductive reading too. An alternative interpretation could emphasize its function as a heightened metaphor; the fact of Jeanne's circumstance acting as an exaggeration or exacerbation of continually existing realities for many women everywhere. I think of that comment made in Kiarostami's Ten regarding "wholesalers" and "retailers".

I suppose the argument would be that we don't need the reveal at all because the effect of her routine damnable existence should be enough, or perhaps something more subtle would be a more effective disruption. That may be true but I view the disruptive element itself, and its presence depicted as sheer violence and rupture, as totally relevant and crucial; it's the same unacknowledgeable sense of horrific recognition that animates the unstable ground of Blue Velvet and Revolutionary Road as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:21 pm 
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A reading of the film that extensively discusses the problematic ending.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:22 pm 
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John Cope wrote:
zedz wrote:
For a long time, the ending was about all I did know of the film. I didn't realise it was a secret. I'm sort of with domino - I think it's unnecessary and simplistic - but it doesn't destroy the rest of the film for me, since part of the problem with the ending is that the film's strengths are irrelevant to the ending, and vice versa.

I don't agree with this. For me, much of the point of the methodology of the rest of the picture lies in the ending. In other words, I think it's a mistake to reduce it to only its effect as "surprise" or "secret". It is, in fact, a culmination point and a rupture point, as though the reveal of the truth of Jeanne's activities inevitably functions disruptively despite Jeanne's own attempts to make these activities manageable by normatizing them and softening their psychic impact through a subsumption into the organic fabric of banal everyday action. A kind of quiescence reasserts itself on the other side of her act (in that great final image), but the reveal of her "secret life" prior to her decisive action (which is what leads to the decisive action) has permanently disrupted our ability to be complicit with her own psychic efforts at diminishment.

Well, in my opinion you'd get almost all of that anyway if the climax of the film was just Jeanne's look of panic and desperation just before the main event. That's the truly devastating shot and performance for me. I agree with bearcuborg that the turn the film takes immediately after is far more of its time than the rest of Akerman's remarkable conception.

For me it cheapens the rest of the film, because it resolves its significance into conventional dramatic cliches (i.e. all of the foregoing has been significant because it leads to this unambiguously dramatic action). I prefer to think of the build-up as significant dramatic action in its own right, a far more radical idea, and one that Akerman delivers on in spades despite muddying the water of her intentions at the last minute.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:28 pm 
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Zedz I will again offer one argument at least as to why I think the last "incident" is so successful. Not only is it like a narrative warp/schock from what preceeded it, which makes it formally unexpected, it also creates an enitrely new time dimensionality for Jeanne in terms of how on earth her life will proceed in anything like the way we've seen it for the last 36 hours/3 hours 15 screentime.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:14 am 
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zedz wrote:
For me it cheapens the rest of the film, because it resolves its significance into conventional dramatic cliches (i.e. all of the foregoing has been significant because it leads to this unambiguously dramatic action). I prefer to think of the build-up as significant dramatic action in its own right, a far more radical idea, and one that Akerman delivers on in spades despite muddying the water of her intentions at the last minute.

Don't think I can agree with you on this, zedz! The murder actually strikes me as yet another incident, an "equivalent event" (in Ivone Margulies' words) that doesn't actually serve to overwhelm the "build-up" because there is no build-up - the "climax" is as significant as everything that precedes it (and vice versa). It's certainly more ideologically loaded than everything else, but, all things considered, I don't think that it fundamentally reverses the dominance of everything that precedes (rather than "leads up to") it.

Also, could a kindly mod change the title of this thread to the film's actual title: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:48 am 
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foggy eyes wrote:
Also, could a kindly mod change the title of this thread to the film's actual title: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles?

Actually, it's too long to fit that and Akerman's name and the date. So... no.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:56 pm 

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foggy eyes wrote:
Antoine Doinel wrote:
Quote:
Also, is this film typical of Akerman's body of work as a whole (either aesthetically or politcally) or is it an anomaly?

Definitely "typical" (to a certain extent) of her 1970s work and Toute une nuit. My viewing gets sketchy after that, so I'd have to let someone else comment on her entire body of work. The Belgian DVD set released by Cinéart is utterly essential and has English subs on everything (Beaver review).

Of her 70's output, sure. Her overall output is all over the map though, especially given her work of the last ~25 years... from straightforward narrative to more 'experimental' work. It's easy to love one film and hate another.

American Stories, a Couch in New York, Night and Day, etc. (none of which I especially like) wouldn't prepare you for Jeanne Dielman in the slightest, or vice-versa. She kind of slipped off the rails after a point with a few scattered gems buried here and there.

I'd love to see Portrait of a Young Girl in the Late Sixties in Brussels again though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:20 pm 
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To those that don't own the Belgian boxset it can be picked up on amazon.co.uk for a mere £124.93 ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:41 pm 
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Peacock wrote:
To those that don't own the Belgian boxset it can be picked up on amazon.co.uk for a mere £124.93 ;)

I have a pretty much brand new copy of the French boxset (no English subs) for a lot cheaper. (I.e., make a reasonable offer.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:46 pm 
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I'm not the seller, in fact i haven't ever sold anything on the net before, i'm just remarking that to get this with subs costs an extortionate amount.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Peacock wrote:
To those that don't own the Belgian boxset it can be picked up on amazon.co.uk for a mere £124.93 ;)

As a lark, I put this up for sale for $300 on amazon.

It sold. :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:50 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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I'd sell my Belgian box but I scratched the Jeanne Dielman disc while trying to get it out of the goddamn packaging. I mean, it plays perfect, but it'd probably be hard to attract buyers to it now


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:10 pm 
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why are people paying $300 for this when you can get it here for 1/5 of that price?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:27 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
I'd sell my Belgian box but I scratched the Jeanne Dielman disc while trying to get it out of the goddamn packaging. I mean, it plays perfect, but it'd probably be hard to attract buyers to it now

Shit, sell it a $200 discount price.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:30 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Fierias wrote:
why are people paying $300 for this when you can get it here for 1/5 of that price?

:-$

My guess is libraries who don't/can't deal with overseas transactions, but who knows for sure


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