Moving Pictures
Sep 01, 2009, 09:32AM

The Jeanne Dielman cooking contest

In honor of the Criterion Collection's release of Chantal Akerman's classic film.

There’s more to cooking on camera than Top Chef, and despite films like Big Night or Julie and Julia that have inspired foodies across the country to run out and prepare elaborate meals, it’s rare that we get a cinematic look at how ordinary folks cook every day. It might not be the first thing that comes up when people talk about Chantal Akerman’s masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, but one of the features that make this film so strangely compelling is the attention it pays to the simple routines of cooking. Without moving her camera, Akerman follows her heroine’s every move as she prepares meat loaf, breads cutlets, and peels potatoes. The style may be objective, but the effect is highly personal.


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