Mesmerizing look at the slow breakdown of a single mother who makes money as a prostitute: it's as if the audience is cast in the role as psychologist/researcher in order to obsessively study the tiny, tiny happenings of her 'life,' which can be safely viewed through one-way mirrors set up throughout the apartment. Three plus hours is a long time to be subjected to emotional stagnation, but that's actually the point: to experience the title character's lack of control over her surroundings - and herself - and the crushing monotony of her own existence. The absence of television is very noticeable - she writes letters while listening to the radio and her son mopes around the house reading - and the view of 'quiet living' not so uplifting: is that all there is?
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Director: Chantal Akerman
Year Released: 1975