Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
An introduction by Cerise Howard – RMIT Media and Communication studio leader and and co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque
The umbrage in some quarters that greeted Vertigo’s (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) ascension to the throne in 2012’s ten-yearly Sight & Sound poll of the “Greatest Films of All Time” was as nothing compared to that which greeted its dethronement late last year by a film that had ranked a mere 35th the poll prior.
With Sight & Sound producing what has long been taken as the most canonical of lists of canonical films and their exalted directors – in anglophone territories, at least, and to some extent exceeding them – the new Queen of the Canon is Chantal Akerman’s (1950-2015) singularly rigorous, pointedly feminist, durational cinema masterpiece from 1975, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.
Mine will be the great joy of introducing the film at a rare screening at The Capitol on Thursday 27 April, during which I’ll relish rubbishing frankly embarrassing laments from the likes of Paul Schrader – a prominent critic and director, and the screenwriter of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (#29 in the latest S&S poll) – who promptly declared that Jeanne Dielman’s rise to the top had rendered it “a landmark of distorted woke reappraisal”. Oh, Paul…
Duration: 3hrs 22min
Director: Chantal Akerman