This week was really good for films as I watched three which were really interesting. The funny thing was two of them were set in the same country… France. So let’s speak about them. Have you watched anything interesting this week? Please, share, I’d delighted to listen!
Fillth, by Jon S. Baird (2013)
The first two minutes of this film convinced me to watch the whole thing despite the fact I first thought the title was not very striking. There was a beautiful though too thin woman talking to a mirror and I liked her monologue. Then Edinburgh, my beloved city, appeared and I felt so homesick that I thought about switching the TV off but the story was interesting already so I stayed there. The film is quite hard but done in this exaggerated manner I like so much. It reminded me to Wes Anderson and Terry Gilliam or even to A Confederacy of Dunces. Sometimes realism is boring so we need a bit a magic, an inch of weirdness, and that’s precisely what this film has.
The main character is utterly disgusting. It’s the kind o guy you’ve encountered for sure at least once in your life. It may have been a workmate, classmate, a relative… even your own partner! I think everyone of us has (or had) a Bruce Robertson in their life. He is nasty, sexist, a liar, dishonest, conceited, violent… But I’ll tell you what. I sympathized with him. I saw in him things I’ll never recognize in me (but I know they are in me). They say we see in others what we don’t want to see in ourselves…
Bruce Robertson (and here it comes SPOILER!) is completely alone in the world. Maybe he deserves it (well, he deserves it a lot). But at the same time, under all those negative qualities there’s a black hole who eats up everthing: friends, family, mates, unknown people… and in the end it actually devours the same Bruce Robertson!
Life has so many casualities. Like, for example, your little brother dying when you both were playing. We all are selfish. We all want to be the king or the queen of everything we think we own. Is this a sin? Bible would say yes, but who can declare theirselves free of such a sin? Selfishness is so close in a way to the survival instinct.
Or maybe it is a trap of our own ego. The important thing here is that selfishness always ends in bringing us bad consequences. And these bad things make us feel guilty. Selfishness is a very human quality so is remorse. And remorse can be a poison which spoils life. Remorse is so painful, it’s so hard to accept we can be so harmful to others (others who we truly love!). We cannot accept it so we just call ourselves “evil”. We believe we’re evil. If I’m evil everything is justified. I can do harm, it’s my right, it’s what is expected. But more harm is more remorse. And that’s how the black hole was born and that’s how it grew devouring everything and craving for more, and more. until we disappeared, victims of our own impulses. The end.
The Past, by Ashgar Farhadi (2013)
This a realistic film that tells the story of a Iranian-French family living in France. There are few characters in it, just the members of this family and a close friend. The story is long and slow, but I like this kind of narrative too. It has its good points, as realism. For example, the kids were so well portrayed. Their dialogues were brilliant and the actors were awesome. I think is so difficult to write a boy or a girl. I was a little girl not so long ago but still I find it very difficult.
On the other hand, in this film you can see a lot of problems that every normal family have. Relationship between mother and daughter, father and daughter, siblings, ex-wifes and ex-husbands… Creating a home must be so hard I actually don’t know how people can cope with it! Nevertheless, the main character of this film, the mother, seems to be a strong (but naïve) woman who is decided to do what she wants. I liked that in her because even if her decissions might not seem all of them right you’ve to be brave to stand by your own ideas to the end. Would she get a happy end after all? Well, of course not! Happy ends do only exist in stupid stories and this is not one of them. This is more like real life.
And then the past… This film is called so because for me it seems to show how we cannot forget the past forever or pretend it didn’t exist. We (and the present) are the product of the past. It makes us who we are. It’s important. And if we deny it, it’ll catch us anyways. I liked this film as I liked the other one from this director I watched years ago: A Separation, which I also recommend.
Violette, by Martin Provost (2013)
Again France (Paris in this case). I wanted to watch this film because I read in the sinopsis it was about a writer. And well, it was about writing in general, actually it was very interesting from that perspective. This is the story of a real person, Violette Leduc, whose novels were about things not so common in the 50’s as lesbianism, female sexuality, the lack of maternal love and abortion… She was one of these writers who use their own lives to write about. And apparently she wrote about her own experiences directly from her guts. I haven’t read anything by her (yet). But if her stories touched Simone de Beauvoir no less… They must be good.
In this movie, we can see how Violette is ashamed of her own ugliness. She has learnt from an early age that physical appearance is everything for a woman. She feels this preassure (as I and many other women do) about being attractive… beautiful… loved. But I actually liked her character from the beginning. Her intensity, her sensitiveness, how she craves for love from those she admires… I can sympathize with that as well because I’ve felt it. In a way she’s similar to Bruce Robertson (the main character from Filth). But she found writing and writing saved her. She had so many things inside her own soul, so many feelings and desires she couldn’t express in her own personality without being rejected by lovers, by her own mother or by society in general. All that was killing her (as it’d killed me if I were in her shoes). But art can save lives and it saved her. Arguably, she also had good luck because Simone de Beauvoir helped her a lot with her writing career.
And I wanted to talk a bit about this character in the film, Simone de Beauvoir. I haven’t read anything by her neither, just few bits but I liked them a lot. She is portrayed incredibly well as an attractive, intelligent and distant woman. Violette feels terribly insecure while Simone is undoubtly a very self-confident person. Is this a quality of her own self or it’s because life treated Simone better than Violette? I don’t know.
Those two women were really interesting. On the one hand, Simone was really brave when deciding to push the writing career of a woman she didn’t know from before. Nevertheless, although she’s generous (she even pays a sum of money to Violette each month so she can write without worrying about her financial situation). But apparently she didn’t give Violette the only thing she really wanted from her: love. She doesn’t treat her like a friend, she’s more like a patron, a guide in the writing path. I like this ambiguity in her character because it makes you reflect a lot.
And I loved the message of the film: Write, write, write!! Now, I just need to find my own Simone. (I’d rather preffer turning into a strong woman as sure she was… although that demands a lot of work from myself. We’ll see…)