The 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman follows the rote daily routine of single mother Jeanne Dielman over three days, with a focus on housework. Naturally, that includes a significant amount of food preparation. Not having seen the movie, I'm taking the New York Times movie critic Vincent Canby's word for it:
It's also not a movie to see on an empty stomach. At various points in the film the camera watches Jeanne as she cooks. Without cutting away or using any other ellipses, the movie attends to Jeanne's cooking as if it were a documentary, showing us how she prepares, among other things, what seems to be a succulent meat loaf and paperthin, breaded, veal cutlets. At the film's end, I was both moved and starved.
This nearly three and a half-minute meatloaf scene (accompanied only by the sounds of squishing meat) isn't necessarily hunger-inducing, but it does stick with you as a stark look into the monotony of a woman's life. Watch the video after the jump.
Jeanne Dielman Making Meatloaf
The Criterion Collection put up this video as a call to entries for their Jeanne Dielman cooking video contest running until September 28. View more details at criterion.com