Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jeanne Dielman by Chantal Akerman

Screening at OFS at NOON on Saturday May 2nd. Be there! Bring your friends. Let's hang out and talk about the film afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. I loved watching Jeanne Deilmann with a crew of people that were intent on thinking about it as a piece of feminist art. The attention paid to the film for those around me in the past was always as a Structuralist landmark film that happened to have feminist content(text)...having just watched "Saute Mi Ville" for the first time recently and finding out that Akerman made it when she grew frustrated at film school and just decided to make her own 35mm movie is totally cool too, totally punk in 1968! Endless props to Kanako for bringing all this to the foreground again!

    I know there is a feeling about both movies that the violent endings don't do justice to all that leads up the endings...but to me the endings are a continuance of the mute violence, in Jeanne Deilman, and the external violence of "Saute mi Ville" (Blow Up My Town)...I don't have the seemingly requisite reaction to that violence that many do, I don't see it as a cop-out or a destruction of the structural poetry leading up to the violence that Jonas Mekas and many others accuses it of...the violence to me is a functional aspect of the films both formalistically and politically. The need for the interior life of the characters, that remains nearly mute via dialog and is only expressed in actions that are assigned or subverted, to be expressed is palpable...by the end of the 200 plus minutes of fragily contained tension in the rhythms of Jeanne Deilman, the control is released in a way that could only otherwise been left contained and thereby imprisoned. I've read an interpretation of Jeanne Deilman that she is having an orgasm with her last customer...that was my impression too...and so her composure that she doesn't come out of on her own, even in the quiet alone moments that we see her over the span of 48 hours...is shattered by the presence of the customer...and yet it is an orgasm...a literal climax to a movie, which in the Hollywood assembly line, that arguably defines cinematic meaning to the world, is often expressed in violence that, as any critic who is honest will divulge, also punishes the lead female for pursuing her desire whether material, sexual or even mental...so by taking the reins of violence herself she inverts the subjugation of the lead woman that is part of the common language of film...but it is she that is in control...for once! Amy Taubin, the feminist film critic, has a simple quiz...name one movie where the woman isn't punished for her desire...take it...it's unbeleiveable...in Jeanne Deilman, she sits in the dark waiting for the shit to hit the fan...or not...her punishment happens off screen if it happens...the really twisted thing though...the discordant notes that strike me at the end of both Jeanne Deilman and Saute Mi Ville and linger with me now is, what is the desire? Maybe someone can argue the case for one thing or another but to me it's absence is looming like the lack of dialog...the dramatic question of the movie isn't there on the surface to be dissected or dismissed...the absence then is there in the foreground...to feel.