The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) conducted a survey among 209 film critics from 43 countries to discover the best films in world cinema. The list also includes one Belgian film: ‘Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’ by Chantal Akerman.
Three years ago, the BBC went in search of the best American films. They followed with polls to determine the best comedies and the best films from the 21st century. This year, they reviewed the best non-English language films. It is in this list that Akerman’s work reached 14th place.
The filmmaker’s fans included Orson Welles and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and ‘Jeanne Dielman’ received positive comments at the Cannes festival in 1975. Even so, Akerman’s film debut was unsuccessful. The international critics, however, did not forget the modernist film, which lasts over 3 hours.
Jeanne Dielman, played by Delphine Seyrig, plays a key role in the story. She is a housewife and earns money as a prostitute. The film shows 3 days in her life, which is boring and regimented. The entire film is played before a static camera with really long takes. This method allows the audience to witness the everyday details in Jeanne’s life.