25 August 2009 | wkkbooks
Elliptical . . you are invited to project into the gaps.
Elliptical . . you are invited to project into the gaps. I find an atmosphere of unbearable tension, depression, grief, apprehension,
watching two women living with some persistent post-traumatic stigma, unexplained, in a waiting that never ends. Something to do with the mother's unique, uncommunicable anguish over a very bad, violent, abnormal daughter. We never learn what she did or see her misbehave, we imagine the worst and her most innocent behavior seems unnerving, suggestive of evil. A double anguish, also having to do with a pair of depraved teenage boy killers on the loose in the neighborhood. Did they kill someone in the family? Or are they perhaps family members? Do the two women know something about these boys that the police don't? A numbed mood with its own rapturous nuances, separates them from the street world in front of the house, and the equally claustrophobic garden world in back of the house, the absolutely still house. Great actresses are denied the opportunity to act, a kind of negative violence which causes amazement and discomfort. By bizarre contrast, suddenly a radiant 24 year-old Depardieu, as an awkward vacuum cleaner salesman, gives a hilarious, virtuosic shaggy dog monologue out of Pinter or Beckett. Virtually his first film, it precedes his official filmography; what a discovery. The film goes nowhere, a fragment, a shard of smoky Durassian flint. The more Duras one already knows, the more one can appreciate this seemingly obscure and tedious film.