As a commenter elegantly added after Scott Tobias’s review of “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” at the AV Club, “Thanks a lot, jerk. I would have appreciated a spoiler alert before describing the potato scene.”
Really, few other films are as spoiler-proof as Chantal Akerman’s 1975 housewife saga, the complete plot of which could be described in two sentences. It’s all in the watching, the tedium, the real-time observations of the daily routine of Delphine Seyrig’s widowed housewife, including the methodical peeling of said potatoes, the mushing together of meatloaf and breading of veal cutlets.
And turning of tricks, but we’re focusing on cooking here. The film inspired Criterion, who released it on DVD in late August, to put together a cooking video contest, and while submissions are now closed, the films are all up on YouTube, and how they’re rated there will determine which one wins the audience award — Akerman’s apparently joining in the juried judging.
There’s one from a potato’s POV, one about a theoretical fourth client, one that imagines a New Jersey parallel, and takes like this one, below, that remind us that sometimes a little raw meat is all you need.