Monday, December 22, 2008

"I've Loved You So Long" (Language - French) (2008) - Movie Review

I talk lot about judgments and prejudice in my reviews and it is a day to day affair in life and thus in films too. In a rationale to see things fairly is it a possibility to discard the instincts we have developed for a person, in fear of bad things happening? The fear which circumspect us in those event on seeing the person as the potential candidate for the worse things as an eventuality, we avoid, snub, doubt and ride the guilt after ward and comfort us on the practicality of life. Philippe Claudel directed “I’ve Loved You So Long” introduces a person most would be afraid and in fact be disgusted to have around on the actions claimed to have done by them in the past. That is Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas).

Her sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) joyous and expectant receives her from the airport. Juliette drops a formal smile and gives a cheek for a speck of kiss from Lea. Juliette is cold and distant from every one understandably once we learn from the later point in the film that she is out of prison after 15 years. Her parents have disowned her, husband divorced and the only sane touch to the reality she has is Lea. Lea grew up along with her big sister looking and idolizing her. Despite the stain of crime which is the worst, Lea loves her sister and gives her hope. In her haunting question of why her sister did the horrendous act, she pushes the day inch by inch hoping to close nearer to Juliette of knowing it.

Juliette, placid and taciturn clearly does not like to be around amongst a crowd. She enters the family of Lea with her two adopted sweet little daughters. Lea’s husband Luc (Serge Hazanavicius) not liking a bit of Juliette’s stay showing in his way of discontent now and then with pauses and frowns on his kids. What is the crime Juliette did to be sent to prison is brought out in one of her interviews for a job. She killed her own son. That is it and we crown our justice and conclusions towards her. She does not pity herself and she does not hate every one. She has plainly given up on the life she knew.

She meets men, two of them. One is her reporting officer (Frédéric Pierrot) drawn in his own world of perplexity, sorrow and misery behind his little desk fancying his chance of visiting a lake he is ambitious of swimming. They relate well. Other is a more eclectic admirer of art, literature and emotions, Michel (Laurent Grévill). Michel is a colleague of Lea in the university she works. Both men look Juliette as a lady not to be considered a cheap shot for their lost youth but a beckoning of a woman been and want to be loved and not vocal in telling it. Juliette has this tiny eruptions signifying her bottled up emotions lost forever. Those sprouting small angers remind her of the crime.

French films I have seen makes wonders on taking a subject of gloom and purely shower it up with positivity. In those positivity they do not hide the reality. It has the artistry to pick the correct moments in everyone’s life. They grasp those moments tightly and wound it with the the pragmatic happiness. But they do not compromise the sorrow of it. It is mellow and poetic. It is a bittersweet as life we lead. In the complexity of understanding it, we are surely wondering what makes this mix of misery and height of joy in waves of lessons. Some times the waves of despair lasts longer and goes on forever but we fear joy more than the sadness as its nature of being short lived. Here it is an approach of seeing those in balance but in life it is not.

Kristin Scott Thomas does Juliette one of the toughest role to carry on. In the knowledge of films projecting this out of prison personalities to be obviously socially incapable of being surrounded with people with insinuating questions, Thomas gradually develops Juliette taking it in step by step and giving into the atmosphere of family. She is not trusted by Lea’s husband but later he suggests her for babysitting their kids. And Lea as an angel of hope loves her sister despite everything. She dances around the subject of prison and the awkwardness. She thinks of guarding her sister from those moments and to sidle those away to remind the deadly times. Yet it cannot be erased and in reality Lea wants to guard herself from the incapability of handling and being in that situation.

“I’ve Loved You So Long” is a chain of clinging periods of the glassed ornaments of numb sadness in a person. She in her withheld of pain and anger gives into the world she forgot. In the process sees her as this lady of nicety and deserving happiness. And the people interacting with her are truly the best people in their best times. Will it be a easy ride in real life? It would not be but that marks how much the film shells us from it and pins the niceties of it. We as the happiness know the short living capability but that is what makes it to beckon for more even if it is full of sorrow and hurt.

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