The Village Voice said you were “arguably the most important European filmmaker” of your generation because the Village Voice never read that Stephen King book about how adverbs make you a pussy. So let’s take out the “arguably” and speak in declarative sentences: Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is a motherfucking masterpiece. What you show onscreen is the stuff every other movie leaves out. The coffee making. The potato peeling. The soup eating. The blouse buttoning after paid sex with gentlemen callers. You know, boring mom stuff. But if anyone knows how to make boring work, Chantal, it’s you. Because when Jeanne’s routine starts to falter in microscopic increments, it’s one of the best tension building sequences in cinematic history. Bonus props for the calmest murder-by-a-domestic-object since that Alfred Hitchcock Presents lady killed her husband with a leg of lamb then fed it to the cops. Also-- it’s insanely inspiring that you made this movie when you were only 24 years old. And your origin story as a film school dropout who funded her first film Saute Ma Ville by trading diamond shares on the Antwerp stock exchange is the most badass of all time. Blessed were the years before Kickstarter, eh, Chantal?
And look, I’d end this letter here but it seems important to tell you (I assume you receive love letters in the afterlife) that a casual dropped reference to Jeanne Dielman on the second day of a new job instantly united two co-workers like hanky code but for feminist film nerd friendships. Within a month they turned their office into a ball pit and within a year they founded this site together. So thank you, Chantal, for being the queen of both the long take and of our hearts.