On January 22nd (2023) I participated in opening a new screening series at Vancity Theatre dedicated to the latest Sight & Sound poll of the “Greatest Movies of All Time.” The series programmer invited me to introduce Chantal Akerman’s 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which emerged as the top film in the latest iteration of the poll. This result delighted many cinephiles, while eliciting condescending dismissal from some. As a scholar and curator who remains dubious about the merits of the Sight & Sound poll, I took the opportunity to frame this remarkable film for audiences and celebrate its challenge to the established film canon.
The audience discussion following the screening was exceptional. More than half of the sold-out venue stayed for the discussion. People’s responses were thoughtful, attentive to the film, personal, and deeply moving. I’m so used to discussing films in academic settings, or attending agonizing Q&As in public screenings, that I forget how incomparable it feels to have a deep discussion with a space full of dedicated cinephiles.
More information about the Vancity screening series and upcoming titles can be found here.