Jeanne Dielman

Feminist Classics and Hungarian History: What's On at the Cinematheque

Wrapping up its winter programme, Cinematheque Ontario presents an eclectic mix of limited run screenings through to the end of March.

Up for more than three hours of feminist avant-garde cinema? Some have called Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) the "domestic 2001". The 201-minute film consists mostly of long quiet scenes where Jeanne (played by Delphine Seyrig) performs routine household chores: washing dishes, shining her son's shoes, picking up meat at the deli, preparing dinner, and so on.

But in the course of three days, Jeanne Dielman's orderly, empty world starts to unravel. She overcooks her potatoes. Her hair is disheveled. It probably has something to do with the strange men the attractive widow is rendezvousing with for cash in the afternoon. The film is both difficult and unforgettable.

While Dielman barely leaves her kitchen, Max Oph眉ls's heroine in Lola Montes (1955) tours European capitals as a circus performer. Flashbacks tell the story of a pretty girl with limited talent, achieving celebrity through notoriety (sound familiar?). Based on the real life of a 19th century dancer, Lola Montez was a famous mistress to Franz Liszt and Ludwig I, King of Bavaria.

The movie was re-edited in chronological order shortly after its release, against the director's wishes. This latest cut by the Cinematheque francaise attempts to restore the film to Ophuls' original intent.

Also on the Cinematheque screen this week, Cry me a River and 24 City, the two latest by acclaimed Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke. And next, a retrospective on Hungarian filmmaker Mikl贸s Jancs贸, including his more renowned pieces The Round-Up (1966) set in a prison camp after a failed 1848 revolution, and Red Psalm (1971) which follows a turn-of-the-century farm workers' revolt.

Cinematheque Ontario screens Cry me a river and 24 City (March 18), Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (March 19 and 22), Lola Montes (March 20, 21 and 22), and films by Miklos Jancso (March 27 and 28) at Jackman Hall, 317 Dundas Street West. Still from Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.


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