Victoria Jelinek


The Pregnancy Diaries – 16

 “A tree’s a tree. How many more do you need to look at?” Ronald Reagan

Watched Terrence Malick’s last film The Tree this week. Malick has taken his time with his films, working on this one for decades. He’s ‘only’ made seven films in a 35-year career, but his films Badlands and Days of Heaven are two of the most beautifully filmed movies of all time and this one is gorgeous, too. It’s lightly existential…a great film to watch when you’re in the mood to consider your life, your family, and the world you live in without delving too deeply into any of it…

That said, the film opens with the loss of one of the sons and the mothers consequent grief. I had a hard time getting through it because I can’t imagine losing a child and the actress’ portrayal of her sorrow was palpable. I kept wondering about my strong opinion that one should watch EVERY film a director one likes makes in order to watch their development and understand their cannon of films in context; maybe this isn’t necessary for me anymore now that I don’t work in film; it certainly doesn’t seem necessary to watch a film about the loss of a child when I’m pregnant.

The film is about three boys growing up in the 1950’s with their mother, a free spirit, and their father, a ‘hard ass’ who is sometimes affectionate (played by Brad Pitt). The story considers the origins and meaning of life, and death, in general and as it pertains to the boys’ lives and experiences. The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it won a Palme d’Or, and was met with rave reviews from critics but was actually booed at the screening (a tough reaction particularly as the filmmakers and actors are present). Depending on whom you speak to, the sci-fi meets surrealist themes and imagery were seen as both imaginative and independently minded, or pretentious and boring. I found that the fragmented and non-linear narrative actually is how memories are remembered, and as it’s a story told in the present about the past, this seems appropriate and interesting.  There is an argument for it’s being indulgent and meandering. However, in a world of films that appeal to the lowest common denominator and rely on frenetic images and action, this nicely paced, philosophically light film is refreshing.

But maybe hold off until you’re not pregnant or haven’t just had a child and your hormones aren’t blasting through your body. It’s entirely conceivable that you have a stronger stomach than me, but if not, maybe hold off watching other films that deal with child loss or neglect, too, such as Trainspotting again, or Rabbit Hole.

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Submarine

Oliver Tate is besotted with a feisty girl in his class at school, Jordana. But as he embarks on his first relationship, he also frets over the troubles in his parents’ relationship, problems exacerbated by one of his mother’s exes moving in down the street.

This is Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut and he has hit it ‘right on the money’ with savvy visual references, a good script and cast. Adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s novel, the script is humorous and sly. Aiding the script are well-cast actors in all of the roles whose characters offset the quirky, dark tendencies of the movie with a warmth and likability.

A coming of age tale that blends cool, quirky comedy with warm-hearted drama.



Melancholia

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) are celebrating their marriage at an extravagant party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland) just as the planet Melancholia is heading towards earth. As the planet threatens to collide with the earth, the two sisters find their relationship challenged and their sense of the world and their place in it in question.

Danish Director and Writer Lars von Trier is no stranger to difficult subject matter as seen in his previous films Dogville, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark and The Kingdom. Melancholia is about the tension between appearances and ‘reality,’ happiness and sadness, ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ Von Trier is also a man who upsets people both with his work and his words – it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year (May) where it won Kirsten Dunst a Best Actress Award (a long way away from her role in Spiderman) even as Von Trier was ejected from the festival for offending someone with something he said.

However, as with Von Trier’s previous films, the work speaks for itself: complex, gorgeously shot, beautifully scored, and wonderfully acted, this is a very good film.



Cannes Film Festival

It’s an amazing party like nothing you’ll see anywhere – not Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, nowhere. It’s everyone in World Cinema and the European industry combined with everyone in the US industry, combined with super super stars, combined with international wealth that one doesn’t usually see (arms dealers, for example), with huge yachts on the harbour, sparkling at night along the Croisette, and folks decked out in Chanel, Dior, Gucci for the premieres (black tie only, and its very cool as you walk down the red carpet and it all seems so celebratory! For film!). The main gig is along the Croisette (the main road, bordering the water) with Old Town providing the places for nice, relaxed dinners, and the beaches farther along the harbour for those who want some ‘peace.’ And most of the action that’s not private happens behind the “Grand Hotel”. It’s a lot of fun and it’s gorgeous. I enjoyed the work and the partying, but it was exhausting. I felt like I had Rose wine streaming through my veins by the time I left all times. However, it is impossible to get into parties, on the beach, in the villas up in the hills, on the boats, anywhere, without being on guest lists, and it’s near impossible to get into most films without a pass, and absolutely impossible to attend a premiere unless you know a distributor who can give you an invite, or you go with an A-list star. The villas, the parties on the beach, all heavily guarded, as are the premieres, where even if you do have a ticket, you may not get in and it’s a real mess (see A-list bringing an entourage and over-issuing to insure packed houses). It’s gorgeous, blue sparkling, French Riviera, and its silver-coloured sea with the sparkling lights at night… However, even when you are working, or are with an ‘important’ person, or are ‘beloved’ by those you’re around, everyone is always looking over your shoulder as they talk to you, and around the room, to see who else is there, eager to make that next important contact, that next big impression. Overall, it’s exhilarating in the setting of the silver, sparkling sea, and all the commotion about film when you are a lover of film, even as it’s also heartbreaking.



Cannes Film Festival

Cannes…It’s is an amazing party like nothing you’ll see anywhere – not Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, nowhere. It’s everyone in World Cinema and the European industry combined with everyone in the US industry, combined with super super super stars, combined with international wealth that one doesn’t usually see (arms dealers, for example), with huge yachts on the harbor, sparkling at night along the Croisette, and folks decked out in Chanel, Dior, Gucci for the premieres (black tie only, and its very cool as you walk down the red carpet and it all seems so celebratory! For film!). The main gig is along the Croisette (the main road, bordering the water) with Old Town providing the places for nice, relaxed dinners, and the beaches farther along the harbor for those who want some ‘peace.’ And most of the action that’s not private, happens behind the Grand Hotel. It’s a lot of fun and its gorgeous. I’ve gone there to work and I’ve gone there to bask in my ex husband’s credentials, expense account, passes, etc (where I went to every party, and a premiere every night, and his offices were on the Croisette, costing 40k Euros for rental for two weeks), and I enjoyed it and it was EXHAUSTING. I felt like I had Rose wine streaming through my veins by the time I left ALL times. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get into parties, on the beach, in the villas up in the hills, on the boats, anywhere, without invites/being on guest lists, and it’s near impossible to get into most films without a pass, and absolutely impossible to attend a premiere unless you know a distributor who can give you an invite, or you go with an A List star (and even then, hmmm). The villas, the parties on the beach, all heavily guarded/manned, as are the premieres, where even if you DO have a ticket, you may not get in and it’s a real mess (see A List bringing an entourage and over-issuing to insure packed houses). It’s gorgeous, blue sparkling, French Riviera, and its silver-colored sea with the sparkling lights at night. However, even when you ARE working, or ARE with an ‘important’ person, or are beloved by those you’re around, EVERYONE is always looking over your shoulder as they talk to you, and around the room, to see who else is there, etc…but it is exhilarating even as it’s heartbreaking.