A Damn Fine Espresso: April 2023

Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is not an easy watch – and for a long time it was especially difficult to find an opportunity to watch it, but thanks to its top slot in the Sight & Sound critics’ poll in 2022, it returned to a number of cinemas, giving some of us a chance to watch (or even rewatch) Akerman’s contribution to radical cinema. At 3 hours and 21 minutes, during which little happens that would make up the plot of conventional movies, Jeanne Dielman asks a lot of its audiences – but, as Julie and Alan argue, it gives a lot back. What did the two of them get out of Akerman’s film dedicated to three days in the life of a widowed bourgeois housewife and occasional sex worker? How does its running time and structure work? And will their suggestion to shorten the title to a potentially catchier JD stick? Tune in to find the answer to, well, most of these questions!

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