22 September 2019 | bob the moo
Difficult, complex, raw, challenging - but rewarding
Depiction of rape is nothing new in media; you can take your pick of the one-shot brutality of Irreversible, or the "crime per week" network TV shows that use sexual assault as their starting point for each new episode. Less common is media that looks at the experience in terms of the lasting impact on the person - ie beyond the tearful police interview, or confrontation of the offender, but just the day-to-day presence that the existence of the assault has. This is what we get in "And Nothing Happened" and it is hugely effective in how it plays out very simple scenes, and has the assault present at all times. It is not melodramatic but rather subdued into smaller moments.
These range in complexity. The overly attentive hands of family at breakfast is easy enough but it reaches into the complexity of the lead character watching simulated "forced" sex to help masturbation. Likewise there are small moments where the viewer is left to wonder if something is present that relates to the assault or not. I liked this approach a great deal because it both put us into the mind of the character while at the same time not suggesting that everything is understandable or accessible. The lead actress delivers this very well; she is even handed, balanced, and comes over in a way that tells us everything we are seeing is her new norm, so while difficult, it is not overdone in a way that suggests this is the first-time, or the worst time - just another "time".
It is a raw film to watch, and it affected me more than I expected even though at the same time I didn't understand the meaning or significance of all of it - although I guess this is partly the point as perhaps the character herself may not understand why she is feeling what she feels now.