God's Little Acre

God's Little Acre
Lord, make way for gold

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea's work

Trash Humpers

Trash Humpers
broken, faked, MADE

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who's Persecuting Who? Roman Polanski's VENUS IN FUR

VENUS IN FUR opens in motion, on a Parisian road,  lined by perfectly paralleled trees.  The camera moves through  increasingly swift paths, moving anxiously towards its end goal.  All the while the treetops open, reaching out and touching one another...a thin branch from the left border of the street meets the thin branch of the right side.  The visual roadmap changing before us, and these impossibly static left and right sides meet  one another's touch, like bending tentacles. They separate as the camera slows, hovering at a theater entrance.

Now we are among people.
How will their common goal connect? How will what was previously hidden about a person come to show it itself? Our masks? Our neuroses, our psychoses?
Is this another great Polanski film about persecution and persecution complexes?
Of course.
But here, we explore these matters by way of Speech.

Polanski sometimes has messy women color his movies. These messy characters are corporeal, blunt.  They are also like white rabbits;
Adjani's mysterious roommate Stella drew THE TENANT's Trelkovsky down a rabbit hole of doubles; all hunted, all victims, all outcasts. They were as literal and historical as they were psychological and neurotic. Seigner's sexually self possessed Mimi of BITTER MOON leads all the characters into a mystery of love and disappearance. In VENUS IN FUR Seigner's Vanda also leads.  She needs to earn his respect and trust before she can lure Thomas.  She allows him to see, through her ability to connect to once hidden parts of himself.
She also shows him a new way to connect to text, and to his relationship as a director.
These properties are nearly mystical/spiiritual, though depicted matter of factly.  She is a seer who leads the blind, not unlike Tess, not unlike Adjani in THE TENANT or Ruth Gordon's Minnie in ROSEMARY'S BABY.

The first time we see Thomas (Almaric) he is overheard speaking on the telephone.  He makes a joke of women today and their frivolity.  The conversation cuts off after he sarcastically jokes he could dress in drag.

In THE TENANT, Trelkovsky's fears and otherness are brought to the forefront when he dresses in drag in a pivotal scene in the film.

Is that what Vanda's character is? Is it Thomas? in drag? Or just another image of him, created or projected from their meeting.

There is a moment in the beginning when we understand that how they speak to one another, and in which voice, will dictate their forward motion, in a psychological sense. We are brought a precise moment where suspense of disbelief concretizes:  Thomas has previously been dismissive of this blowsy actress.  But suddenly  Thomas nearly spins towards her on the stage,now needing his glasses as if to see through something appearing unclear. She is reading a line and he replies to her, grabbing the book...
He  believes her in the role.
And in turn, he is willing to play his part.

This new  film too is about what is created when things brush against one another, when they line up, as do the left and right sides of the tree lined street.  Between men and women, between the actor and the author, between the artist and the audience, connections are revealed that change the look of the road.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


There is romance when they notice you.  You are  standing in a crowd, you are female, yet you are poor and strange, not of this place.  Are you going to find work, will you be accepted into a community, can you communicate well?  More importantly, will you be someone of worth?
In other words, will you be not nothing?

Ewa (Marion Cotillard) is transcendent playing a woman desperate to transcend.
She needs rescuing because she has been victimized by being a woman,  disadvantaged by being dependent on men to be saved from deportation and to make money to survive.  Her choices are divided but her claim is singular:  that she lives to make money to bring her sister home from the Ellis Island hospital.
The methods are twofold:  be a "moral" woman who saves money slowly, sewing, legally earning money.  She could be saved if a man would find her and love her and choose to marry her.  Someone mentions that maybe she'll get married and have children, and one can nearly see the birds dancing around Ewa's head as her eyes glow, her secret revealed.
The second method is less legal, yet more direct.  A dancing girl, a working girl, is just as eager to lure that male attention, except one is focusing on multiple men instead of a lone husband.

Bruno finds Ewa and she is given both options, two methods to choose from. She chooses, yet she changes her mind.  Does she do so because she repents?  Or is that she is simply walking down the second avenue...
Ewa recommits to Bruno, to their partnership  and their livelihood.  She again dances with the devil, or is he son of God?  He is a relative to Bruno, the same man perhaps, but he would be the husband, the alternative choice.
The choices are never entirely clear.  Bruno is sure that this is not the moral highroad, or even a smart decision, or that his cousin is even a decent or loving person.  Ewa waivers as well.  Is her intense declaration not to be nothing a revealing statement about needing to be valuable? And is commanding  financial value what her purpose eventually becomes?

Desire is muddled, but morality is even murkier.
The american dream is dirty and religious salvation is a lie. The true nature of Ewa's goals elude us every moment. But Ewa is still treated, filmically, as a religious figure.  She prays not to God but to the "Mother of God".  Even as Ewa's descends into transgression,  she is lit and captured on film as a glowing figure.  Complicating the religious imagery is a parallel series of images:  Ewa's thin and heart shaped jawline, glowing eyes, and her awkward deer like gaze into an audience of men.  She is seen as both a martyr and as a marvelously sexy woman aware and distracted by men looking at her.

And what has more value than for a woman to be chosen, to be singled out by a man. There is an entire city of women, or at least an island with ships full of them, all strange and foreign, all oppressed and in need.  Some special women will be seen for who they are. Is it their soul or their moral fiber that speaks to the man who finally sees and recognizes value in her? Or is it that her need to be seen bends a moral code to fit the circumstances of her life.

THE IMMIGRANT is an intimate and straight story as much as it is a story about the many shades of grey that complicate a woman's goals, heart and place in the world.

Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence
spirit interrupts

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea managing the business


cutting through the walls