Day two had two films in it (no pun intended). Both at the theater and both disturbing in its own ways.
I'll invert the order and I will start with the second one. Ida, a poland production directed by Pawel Pawlikowski in 2013, won the Oscar for foreign movie this year. I was lucky, because I had missed it at the theaters and really didn't wanted to see a movie with what seemed to be an amazing cinematography in home, in my too small tv.
Again, I didn't know a lot about the movie. I avoid reading critics and other comentaries about a film before going to the movies, trying to let it surprise me. Sometimes it is inevitable, especially in blockbusters' productions, and I must say that I'm not allergic to spoilers. But a filme that develps itself in front of you is always a nice experience.
And Ida was a surprise that I hadn't had for a while. First, the silence. And how beautiful and strong it was. So eloquent, as it uses to be in movies that choose this way to tell a story, especially one about a violence so vile that any big noise is redundant.
The three protagonists are very strongly depicted throught silence and the whiteness of the perfect cinematography. Big plans, small details, the piercieng eyes of Ida... all of it to give us an idea of how excruciating is the experience of war.That is, by the way, one of the characters in the movie. The other two, Ida herself and her aunt Wanda (both incredibly interpreted by amazing actresses) transit in the world of loss and profound pain in a way that penetrates in our heart in each take.
While I was buying the ticket to the movie, the girl that was selling it how she had enjoyed Kingsman, the third filme that I had planned for the day, but decided to dicht after seeing Ida and leaving the theater in a very introspective state. I asked her about Ida, and she told me that, ok, the story was good, but the silence, oh the silence, it was excrutianting. And unberable. And the scenes were too slow, according to her. So I smiled bit to her and said how I would like the movie for sure. During the movie, I thought how, despite (sorry) my increasing need to pee, I couldn't leave the theater for my life.
I more than liked it. For some movies, I say that like is such an inapropriate word. I felt that when I saw The White Ribbon, by Michael Haneke (2009). The movie is so accurate, so big in what it say, and so crude in doing it that has no way to say that we like it. Sure, Ida leaves a lot of space for enchantment, but the place that it put us in is so painful and sad that, if not for the extreme poetic images, it wouldn't be possible to see it. And, at the same time, it is what turns it so unbearable to watch.
Thats the point of poetry: an intensity so strong that can tell about love, hurt, lost in a way that nothing is complete or completely sure. It is ambivalent, cruel, overwhelming and, at last, hopeful.
Rogerio Luz, a brazilian researcher, wrote that the cinema can bring to us the excrutiating experience of violence in a way that we couldn't live, fortunately, out of the theater. He exemplifies his idea with the World War II movies and the holocaust, that we can experience through many movies from different nacionalities. While watching Ida, his words came to me in many scenes (Filme e Subjetividade, Contra Capa editora, 2003).
Another reference that became vivid during the ehxibition was the novel Hope: a tragedy: A novel, by Shalom Auslander. The author, through his main character and his unusual encounter with an old Anne Frank, discuss how the images of holocaust inhabit our imaginary today. It is a very dark humoured view, but an important one, attentive to the risks of how images can perpetuate things that are no longer like that and can, in fact, diminish the violence of the holocaust. Ida encountered this thought in me in the painfull journey of the main character with her strongly pained aunt.
But I talked more than I intended to, hoping that I didn't let out too much of the story. When you see it, or if you already had, let me now what are your thoughts about the movie.
As an afterthought, Agata Trzebuchowska's eyes are realy the soul of the movie. And could be the protagonist of a horror movie anytime.
The first movie of day two was The Double, by british diretor Richard Ayoade, based on the book by Fiodor Dostoyevsky. In my perpetual ignorance, I didn't know that, and I thought Kafka all the time.
Closed, dirty spaces... leaking ceilings, defective bulbs, eternal night. The claustrophobic feeling of being trapped, ignored and unknowledged by the people and the intitutions are there. Jesse Eisenberg is magistral in his performance, as the rest of the cast. So much that my constant feeling was of being traped myself. The movies' images kept enclosing me and all that I wanted was for that to end.
A strong sentiment was of dejà vu. I've already felt this way in a movie theater, though not for a long time. And the other perception was one of a vivid anachronism. This film, for me, belongs to another time, late eighties, mid nineties maybe.
Asking myself of why was that, I reached the conclusion, that I'm not sure of, that today the problem is not to be heard by the people around us or even the big institutions, as the government. I hear numerous and loud voices everyday, so deafening in its erratic manners. The capable and correct good guy that is not heard, seen or acknowledged by anyone is not a figure that I see these days in the world. Of course, inadequation, invisibility, the seek of our own identity is here, as always, but not in the way depicted by The Double. And so, what remained from the movie to me was the disconfort, the claustrophobic feeling and the admiration for Eisenberg, a really good actor (with amazing cheeks).
The Double. Directed by Richard Ayoade. Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasiowska, Walace Shawn (always the Vizzini). Writer: Richard Ayode, from the book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. UK, 2013, 93 min., Dolby Digital, color (Cinema).
PS: Fragments: Today, having breakfast in front of the TV, as I do every morning, I saw a scene from Notting Hill, 2009, that I like a lot and made love the song in it. So I thought it would be nice to present you with this remembrance.
PPS: The Double made remember a story by Milan Kundera in which a guy goes to prison for not being able to say no or speak his mind at work. But the name of the tale is a mistery to me.