On Friday evening, the Harvard Film Archive in Massachusetts, kicks off Breathing Through Cinema, a six-week retrospective of works by the late Chantal Akerman, with a screening, in 35 mm, of her early masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975). Akerman was just twenty-five years old when she made the film, which depicts, in a series of increasingly tense long takes, the regimented routine of a single mother and part-time prostitute (Delphine Seyrig). At once a rigorous structuralist experiment, a stealthily revealing character study, and a feminist statement on alienation within the domestic sphere, the three-hour-and-twenty-one-minute film “works like a time bomb,” as scholar Ivone Margulies notes in the liner essay included on our edition of the film, recently released on Blu-ray. “And yet the acuity and amplified concreteness of [Akerman’s] images creates a visible instability: as the shot goes on, the viewer becomes aware of his/her own body, restless and then again interested.”
Agnès Varda’s Ode to Female Friendship Returns to Theaters
An underappreciated masterwork from an essential artist, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t is an exuberant celebration of sisterhood and political resistance.