Monday, February 8, 2010

Making meatloaf

Yesterday I went to see Jeanne Dielman, a 1976 film by Chantal Akerman.

It’s three and a half hours long with very little dialogue. In other words, I could hear the man two rows up and seven seats over chewing his popcorn. No worries though. I’m sure he heard me too.

I'm no film expert, but I do know that this movie involves watching a widowed, single mom and prostitute perform her daily household routine over three days – breading veal cutlets, washing dishes, peeling potatoes, making coffee, setting the table. There seems to be lots of setting the table.

Nothing really happens for long stretches of time, but that’s part of what kept me hooked. I kept waiting for something. The “I’ll be damned if I’m leaving now” kind of thing. Then I realized that something is always happening. And the real point I suppose is that the extended length of scenes forces us to experience Jeanne Dielman’s kind of sad role in society – washing dishes and all.

During one scene, when she kneads meatloaf for a solid three minutes, a guy in the theatre let out a flutter of laughter, which totally set me off too. It was the most uncontrollable bout of silent, row-shaking inappropriate laughter I’ve experienced since, oh, maybe church at age 7. It was excruciating, and sort of awesome.

And also, after hearing about a friend who frantically whipped mousse while mad at her boyfriend, I’ve been thinking about food as a conduit for releasing aggression. The meatloaf scene reminded me of that a bit.

If you’re in the mood to make meatloaf, I suggest this recipe, which I made for a photoshoot at work a few months ago. My co-workers seemed to like it. I hope you will too.


Beth said...

Oh, I can totally relate to food as a conduit for releasing aggression. I actually get stressed out if I have to go too many days without cooking or prepping meals. Not only do I enjoy it, I need it for my sanity!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with you. Cooking keeps me sane. It's funny how my mood changes what I want to make too. Thanks for the meatloaf recipe. I just discovered I liked it so I'll have to try it out!

annimal said...

love this post!!! something IS always happening..thanks for the reminder!!