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Meditating with Jeanne D.

woman meditating

Just read a film review in the New Yorker. Looked for a review as I struggled to watch the film on BFI player the other night , while at the same time wanting to come back to it.

It is a 3 hour film, it is slow, which usually doesn't discourageme, except I wasn't in the mood that night. I was still curious. The film, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” was made in 1975 by Belgian director Chantal Ackerman. The film depicts "three days in the life of the widowed single mother (played by Delphine Seyrig), and focus(es) relentlessly on (her) domestic tasks (...): the cooking and cleaning, the wiping and straightening and scrubbing. Jeanne is also a sex worker, hosting a client in the late afternoon each day, although these assignations are (...)mostly unseen".

The review describes in a few words the story of the film, but it also suggests that people who love the film could be "those who can enter a meditative state when watching it. (...) Meditation is often accomplished through a focus on one’s breathing, and so it’s apt that an especially suspenseful and doom-laden moment in “Jeanne Dielman” comes on the ominous third day, in a shot of Jeanne simply sitting in a chair in her living room—not knitting or folding or smoothing, just sitting, and Akerman and Seyrig draw us toward the variations and tiny irregularities of Jeanne’s breathing. With each shallow inhalation, one expects something momentous to happen. (...) and wait for something to happen, but it already is. "

I shall definitely give it another go and breathe with Jeanne.


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