Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wide Open Space

It's been awhile, even longer than I intended as Google doesn't seem to want to let me log into my account! But anyway... so many films and other cultural things to share.

Most recently, I watched Certain Women, written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, which prompted me to ponder the slowness of cinema. These days I find myself becoming quite impatient with slow-burning films. I was unimpressed with Moonlight, in part because it moved so glacially, though I had other problems with it, most notably in the characterisations.

But, with Certain Women, I could accept the aesthetic. Reichardt is known for her attention to the minutiae of characters' existence, and in Certain Women, we find this multiplied by three, as there are three distinct plotlines involving characters played by Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Lily Gladstone, living in the wide open spaces of Montana. I felt the Williams plotline was the weakest and added nothing to the film. But, the first and third worked for me, and even if I got a bit restless watching Gladstone's Rancher repeatedly feeding her horses, trailed by a yippy dog, the repeated actions made sense: here is a creature of routine who has little human contact. When she meets Kristen Stewart's law student-tutor, her routine is disrupted and she can dream of other modes of being. When this doesn't quite happen, the sadness is possible.

Dern's branch of the story features some jet-black comedy as her lawyer attempts to help a client going off the rails, even to the extent that she is sent into a building where he is holding a security guard hostage. Their exchanges are bitterly humourous.

So, here we have rather desperate human beings attempting to connect with one another, with fractious results. Reichardt's view of humanity may be bleak but it is also beautiful.

No comments: