Monthly Archives: July 2009

  • AntiChrist Lars vonTrier (2009 Denmark Germany) Willem Defoe; Charlotte Gainsbourg

    AntiChrist Lars vonTrier (2009 Denmark Germany) Willem Defoe; Charlotte Gainsbourg
    Viewed Tyneside Cinema: 27 July 07; Ticket price £6.85

    God is dead: sex is dead
    After the final credit of Antichrist(AC) I was left neither with a coherent idea nor thought nor with an emotional reaction to the film. My feeling was that I had been inside a dream, Lars von Trier’s dream. A stream of conscious and unconscious imagery that was in equal measure coherent and confused, profound and banal. An expression of the director’s state of mind, a personal film to which I can only make a personal response. AC left a desire to respond.

    And if not the dreamer who would censor our dreams? I think this is a culture that is deeply suspicious of the dream. The dream bypasses the mental circuitry of the forebrain where our needs and desires are translated into rational social statements comprising correct concepts and vocabulary. As a culture we subject ourselves to as deep a self censorship as any Medieval peasant or monk. In both the structure and content LvT challenges our self censoriousness with the stuff of our dreams and with the logic and demands of the ‘unconscous’, the ‘devil’ within. The main problem with the transposition of dream material into AC, is that LvT has not been able to find an expressive language of images modes and devices beyond the cliché of the horror film and banalities of the snuff movie. The more you see in the literalist graphic modes that comprise the final sequence of AC, the more degraded and laughable becomes the enterprise. What starts as a allegorical Neo Nietschean post Freudian theorem, turns into a Tobe Hopper theme park, where the plot is lost in suffusion of ideas and images from competing realms: fairy tale, eschatology, daemonology, gynocide and opera bouffe mutilations etc.

    But before the chaos I think that LvT in his scenario and filmic realisation, opens up areas of psychosocial functioning which justify the film. I see LvT as a Zarathustra figure, descending the mountain but announcing, not that God is dead, but that “Sex is dead”. There is something in LvT and the personal nature of his film making that is neo-Nietschian in spirit. All is allegory and excess yet there is a message that we are living at a point in time where everything is unhinged, everything is balanced betwixt disaster and overcoming. The filmic rendering of the text : the big close up’s, the wild panning camera, jump cuts the enfoldment of the intolerable and overwhelming with the stillness of nature, simulate an interiority of creative philosophical vision. “ What is the greatest thing you can experience? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when even your happiness grows loathsome to you, and your reason and your virtue also (Prologue Zarathustra).

    Freud, after many years banished to the wilderness is reinstated by LvT. Freud’s one great insight lies at the core of AC. I think LvT has revived Freud because Freud’s ideas represent a fundamental challenge to, a break with the Western Rationality Project. (as do Nietzsche’s) Freud’s decade long analysis of his patient’s dreams led to his basic insight that man functions at an irrational level. Freud conceptualised the ‘Id’ as the instinctual basis of man’s being which all civilisations suppressed but which Western rationalism denied. LvT uses Freud’s basic concept of the “Id’ but recasts the rest of Freudian theory along his own line of vision. Freud theorised about The Primal Scene, the unconscious effect on the child witnessing their parents copulate. From the witnessing the Primal Scene came the theory of the Oedipal conflict in which the male child is driven to kill the father and fuck the mother. One of Freud’s weaknesses was the inadequacy of his theory in addressing the female.

    This cannot be said of LvT who reconfigures the Primal Scene in the opening sequence of the film. I can’t say I liked the way this sequence was shot: stylised in extremis without synch sound, black and white photography all in slomo ; it had the glossy look of a Vogue centrespread and is cut to music from Handel’s opera Rinaldo, Almirena’s aria: ‘Let me Weep”. But my like or dislike isn’t the point. Because the sequence is effective in setting up LvT’s basic theorem: Sex is Dead. In Freud’s allegorical primal scene (which Freud describes as being perceived as violent) it is the psyche of the child that is subconsciously effected. During LvT’s opening primal scene, which is shot with vigour and violence, the child dies. Sex kills the child. The woman understands this; and woman whose realises that sex equates with death is consequently overwhelmed by the claims made upon her by the force of ‘her Id’. She is disturbed to the roots of her being. And so are we. LvT points directorially to the contemporary Western justification of sex. Sex is either a function of rationality or of consumption. But the actual nature of sex is fertility and in denying this are suppressing our fundamental nature. The price of denial is its violent twisted return in unexpected forms. Sex is dead. In its place rationality self image and desire are propagated but have to be constantly coppiced stimulated and resuscitated to endure within our exhausted psyches. When true fertile sex erupts through the sods of censorship it takes on a violent apocalyptic form destroying what lies in its path.

    In the prologue and opening two chapters of AC, LvT sets up his theorem in relation to Him (Adam) and Her (Eve) and their return to Eden. The forces of rationality are pitted against the forces of the enraged ‘Id’ as they erupt from the trauma of the sex/death equation. The overwhelming of Eve by her subterranean daemon is expressed as cinematic compulsion as she crosses the bridge to Eden, both virtually and actually; and her nature melds with the foliage and landscape; a merging stunningly evoked by use of natural still life’s and silent shots intercut with her physical progress back into the woods. Transitions. That I found LvT’s finale unconvincing doesn’t detract from the powerful ideas that he set into play. But I found that his final imagery abandoned the powerful allegorical relations that he set in play between the sexes.

    The question asked about AC in the press is whether it and by extension LvT is misogynist. The easy answer may be that it appears so. However I don’t think this is right question. I think the appropriate question is connected to the world of dreams. And whether or not you self censor your dreams when their motifs imagery and implications trouble you. I don’t think AC is misogynist but necessarily expresses itself to us as if it were. In a hostile environment context and social setting LvT is asking what happens when trauma removes the superegoistic mask of the female; the trauma of knowing that what we understand as sex is in fact death. Not life. An enraged primal ‘Id’ is released that is vengeful murderous corrupted by its true nature. This is the price of rationality. This is the terror unleashed by reason.
    adrin neatrour 31 July 2009

  • Stereo 20 minute review

    Stereo (1969) Director David Cronenburg

    20 Minute Review

    Set in some sort of research establishment the film portrays the events surrounding the experimentation into telepathy and eroticism on a number of volunteers .

    Grainy footage, no doubt enhanced by the format [16mm] and possible deterioration of the print, provided a convincing effect that the viewer was watching footage taken from some sort of monitoring camera system. A commentary delivered in a drawled monotone accompaning the footage at intermittent intervals within the film added to the deception that the viewer was participating in some form of review, or report on the events as they unfolded.

    Although purporting to be set in the future, how far [from 1969] this future was there was no indication. The capes and a walking canes favoured by the male characters for outdoor wear suggested the late Victorian era. Indoors doublet, of the late medieval style, and hose seemed to be the preferred apparel. This latter sartorial concept failed to convince me that the setting futuristic, giving more the impression of actors whiling their time between scene calls for one of Shakespeare’s “Wars of the Roses” plays.

    Perhaps Cronenburg would have been better to follow on of the familiar clichés to suggest the future by kitting people out in metallic jumpsuits. He could have course looked at the changes to clothing in the past century and concluded that trousers and a shirt would still likely to be worn and dressed his characters so.

    The story line is of the experimentation on a number of young adults, male and female, to ascertain the effects of telepathy on erotic behaviour.

    This was developed by the narrative voice, which contained a good helping of psycho-babble. Using the voice of a young adult to deliver the narrative, adding a sprinkling of psychological/medical terminology and a pinch of “Gestant” , to suggest the link to Freud et al, Cronenburg encourages the listener to believe that the narration is a report and that this pretentious clap-trap is exactly what one would expect from the mouth of a young researcher out to impress his audience.

    References to Stringfellow and eroticism also were liberally thrown out by the narrator. This was somewhat confusing to the reviewer. Could it be perhaps a reference to Stringfellow’s Club in London with its erotic dancers, etc, which was part of some formal study into erotic behaviour. It was not obvious at this point in the film.

    Although not the mutant haggis variety of his later films we are shown in one scene the replica internal organs of a medical mannequin. a miniature female version of which later manifests itself in the film “Dead Ringers”.

    Other scenes for future films also get their rehearsal outing. Through the narrator we are told that one of the volunteers drills a hole in his forehead to [successfully] release the pressure on his brain. Unlike the same event in Scanners we do not see the actual event, being limited to the suggestion of occurrence through the character probing his forehead.

    At this point if one believes in the reality of the film one can have an interesting philosophical conundrum. Did the character have an original thought to drill his head, or being in the future, could he have been influenced by the scene in Scanners.

    After twenty minutes I received a telepathic message through the film telling me to get an alcoholic drink to relieve the tedium. I therefore obeyed and went to the bar for a beer. Unfortunately only Cronenburg was on offer. So in the tradition of all good News of the Screws investigating journalists “I made an excuse and left”.

    Review by Phil Eastine

  • New Forms for Old

    New forms for old: some thoughts on contemporary film

    It’s been apparent for some time that film has been developing new forms and that it might be worth while to try to develop a loose typology as a way of talking about them and their characteristic stylistic qualities.

    Traditional genre typing points in the main to subject matter but might indicate something about style: traditionally we have Westerns, Romance, Sci-fi, Horror, Biopics etc, genres that are still used descriptively. The appearance of a French School of Film criticism in the ‘40’s and 50’s saw both genre and form reappraised, and new conceptual tools created. A group of thinkers, not all French, developed critical evaluations and interpretations; in particular in relation to ideas about stylistic characteristics of film. Out of the work of this group terms such as: Film Noir, Auteur, Neorealism, New Wave entered critical currency as a way of grouping and talking about distinctive films or film styles with shared characteristics that did not fall into traditional categories. A basis for dialogue.

    Film Noir a term coined in 1946 by Frank and Chartier, referenced not just the dark psychotic mood and antisocial roles in the material but also the stylistic register of the films: the use of low key lights, chiaroscuro and shadow as expressive concomitants to narratives that were still by and large conventional. But note that even with Film Noir some films, such as Hawke’s Big Sleep, were more concerned with the coherence of style than with the continuities of plotline.

    Some of these genres were not straightforward to grasp, provoking differing understandings in different writers and filmgoers. Some writers found it difficult to think in terms of genre other than as a descriptor of subject matter. Neorealism was often confused with social realism, which I think refers to specifically political and social commitment of the filmmaker; to the use of proletarian settings with real locations rather than sets. However despite differences in understanding, all writers understood that the films of the late 1940’s 50’s and 60’s were qualitively different in form and style from those that had preceded them. A new type of film making was taking place, that developed new expressive modes sometimes made possible by advances in film technology, that reflected the concerns and obsessions of a world that had almost destroyed itself. Worlds constructed out of ruins.

    From out of this ruined world Neorealist filmmakers created an audacious series of films that were new in both structure and form. For critics such as Bazin Neorealist films deviated radically from the idea of film making that employed straightforward lines of narrative both in micro and macro structure. Neorealist films were films built out of fragments, discontinuities, layers, weak connections, impossible cuts and the intentional splitting of the constituent elements of film, the movement image and the sound image. Deleauze realised that Neorealism pointed to a new situation in film where perception was personal and the seer was located at the centre of the film world. These were worlds in which the filmmakers did not provide an ad hoc interpretation; they visioned worlds that were there for the audience, through the seer, to understand.

    In different ways depending on director, New Wave filmmakers developed film form according to their own rules. So as well as incorporating into their work Neorealist ideas filmmakers such as Godard and Rivette made films that used context as the characteristic basis of their films. In particular an intellectual moral political social and cultural matrix lies at the core of the work. Godard incorporated aspects of advertising and pop culture directly into film. Godard as well as grounding his work in the cultural iconography of the times employs a wide spectrum of expressive filmic devices according to what’s contextually appropriate: postcards, inter-title cards, recorded messages; often with the intention of satiric political effect. Cinema becomes a cool medium: a collage of artifice. For Rivette context is specifically Paris where a real Paris is intermerged with a mythic city. In Hiroshima Mon Amour Resnais’ film is a personal historic accounting of Nevers and Hiroshima, an integration of location into personal circuitry where there is no memory without context, and no context without mind and no mind outside time. Questions of thinking as much as seeing lie somewhere at the heart of these movies.

    In different ways New Wave has been assimilated by contemporary filmmakers. Directors and film genres have moved on and developed forms responsive to cultural and technical change.

    One development I have noticed in recent film going is the ‘Installation’ film. Once we had drive in movies; now we got walk through movies. The ‘Installation’ film has certainly been made possible by developments in camera mounting, in particular steadicam which allows the progression of the camera to closely mimic natural movement through space or about an object. I think that ‘Installation’ movies critically differ from Neorealist in that the centre of the film is not the ‘seer’ but rather the ‘gazer’. By’gazer’ I am referring to the moral role assigned to the audience by the central controlling Point of View tracking shot that characterises ‘Instalation ‘ film. It is a point of view that tends to be detached, amoral. We gaze upon the environment of the other. The not-me. Through the point of view progress of the camera, space and artefacts are investigated and subjected to (mainly) visual scrutiny which is experienced as an inexorable moving through otherness. In ‘Installation’ film we move without pausing through stimulus rich environments. As we progress our gaze is directed to various events or objects: videos, photos, montage of artefacts etc and we leave with a forensic impression of the material that includes our movement through it. With the moving camera the director controls framing and content of frame. But the feeling from ‘installation’ films is that, one has moved through an environment as a detached observer. It is usually a cool detached experience from which the heat of emotive identification is abstracted. We go in. We come out. In the interstices we have gazed on the other.

    Films I’ve viewed recently that seem to fall into this ‘installation’ genre include: There will be Blood (Anderson), Hunger (McQeen), Helen(Lawler Molloy). These are films in which the installation element plays a central role. There are of course many other films which use the installation idea to further or develop a scene for the gaze of the audience. In the case of There Will Be Blood, the film is characterised by a large number of long tracking shots that take us through a series of tableaux (often comprising the oil filed). I wondered at first what the tracks were accomplishing; they didn’t seem to have an obvious purpose either moral or instrumental. In fact the tracking shots in TWBB are a simulated replication of the effect the audience would get if they were walking through a photo installation. The film is simply an installation in film form. The big production value centrepiece of TWBB is the Biblical column of fire caused by the well blow out and it reminded me of one of Bill Viola’s walk through installations that featured a huge cascade of water. The hyperrealisation of natural phenomena, overdetermines response in the viewer, filling out their field gaze, their sight lines. There Will Be Blood is filmed in a form that is designed to be ‘cool’, and fill out the visual field. It has not been written and shot for audience engagement with either context issues or emotions. Walk through is engagement with environment, and the presence of human actors is irrelevant. In ‘Installation’ we engage with phantom presences. The not-theres. An example of this is in the first section of Hunger, (which I enjoyed) and which felt like a re-enactment of the conditions at the Maze Prison constructed sometime in the future. A psychoarcheology of the Troubles, etched into walls floors and cell furniture of the prison; an environment for us to gaze on and assimilate. The presence of the actors actually seemed a minor detail almost an irrelevance when set beside the movement through the detailed forensic architectural restoration.

    Are you receiving me? Are you getting it? Film as ‘Text Message’(TM). There seem to be a number of films that mimic the idea of the text message: some drama but mostly documentary. The text message film generally sends you one primary message; and keeps on sending it the length of the movie. The film’s structure and form subserve the bidding of the text. The films are usually one dimensional in respect of content, by which I mean the information streams, audio and visual, are only supportive of the basic messaging proposition. Usually nothing is admitted into the movie that is not on message. TM films normally do all the thinking for their audience. The audience they address is by and large those converted to the message, and so their style is often ‘revivalist’ albeit low key revivalist.

    In a sense the TM films are outgrowths of the pop video and their intention like the pop video is to sell the message to the fans and perhaps pick up a few converts on the way. In the case of the TM documentary film the message is a single idea such as global warming or the disaster of junk food. Like the pop video the TM film is usually characterised by a rapidly cut and shifting montage schema. Typically composed with shots of short duration that aim at a rhythmic flow that bypasses reflection. The structure of the text film is often, not always, built up around a number of different interwoven intermeshed ‘stories’ or sequences (sometimes moving back and forth in time) that converge as the film progresses. The reason for this structure is that it gives the filmmakers a high degree of control over their material enabling them to cut away to a new sequence whenever there is a dip in the pace or energy of the film. Pace, as in the pop promo is everything, as soon as pace relents there is the possibility of the audience fatigue or ennuie, hence the need to generate energy by cutting to alternative backdrops and character groupings.

    Some feature films that seem to fall into the TM genre: Stop-Loss (Pierce) and Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle). Boyles film was like a Disney cartoon and carried one simple text message: everyone can conquer adversity and feel good. Slum Dog structured like a two hour long pop promo and it’s all singing dancing finale castes all that had gone before it as a sort of embryonic preparation for its ultimate destiny. Pierces’s Stop-Loss relates to the clause in the contract American soldiers sign when they enlist. It’s a clause which gives the US armed forces the right to compel military personnel to extend their service beyond the time for which they originally signed. Pierce’s film is made is response to her feelings about this issue. The problem is that film (or for that matter the novel or poetry) is generally not employed to its most powerful or persuasive effect when it is reduced to being a vehicle for an issue; when used as a mere vehicle, a simple conduit for a message.

    The final genre I want to look at is the ‘Wheird’. In some ways it is a close relation to the Horror movie, but usually has a stronger social-cultural matrix. ‘Wheird’ movies reflect societies where the values of consumerist capitalism create characters who, beyond a surface appearance of conformity, have little social cohesion. The economics of late capitalism isolates individuals decisively, leading to social relations of untrammelled desires. ‘Wheird’ genre characters are released into a notional freedom driven by the desires of image and object based culture. ‘Wheird’ as genre takes up the idea of a particular form of socially and economically determined isolation, and develops it as a circuit of amplification within the erogenous zone of the enclosed individual and their subjective world. The ‘Wheird’ genre normally envelops and entraps individuals ever deeper into the circuitry of subjective responses. There are no wider social or political responses to the situation, only individuated.

    One of the salient features of ‘Weird’ is to employ a narrative form that comprises a strip of action in which a character experiences or provokes a chain of weird linked events. In ‘Weird’ the general rule is that no character in the movie has cognisance of the weird because most of the central characters are bound into the same shared level of perception. What the viewer has to understand is that in the Wheird the characters have found a line of retreat or escape out of the social matrix. This line of escape, or retreat does not alienate them from their own culture; because along one critical dimension they are confirmed products of that culture, though their psychic response is of an unbalanced and exaggerated conformance to the accepted norms. Interestingly this heightened distorted parody of conformity is a trait they share as a defensive response with the exploited subjects of colonial and neo-colonial regimes. In Weird movies such as Napoleon Dynamite (Hess) or The King (Marsh), a common personality feature of the characters is that figures of iconic status from the movies or from rock n roll/ pop culture, provide derivative models for character assemblage. The feeling you get in Wheird is that character is a function of an egregious random assembly from the drifting flotsam of mass communications. A core central feature of the Wheird personality type is an inherent unpredictability caused by disintegration of the assemblage which disintegration is often at the core of the unravelling of the narrative. Lynch is the ‘auteur’ film maker of the Wheird genre, with Cronenberg a journeyman avatar.
    The above discussion of emerging genre types may or may not be useful as a escriptive function in relation to movies. But it’s a way of trying to talk about film, ecouraging dialogue and also analysing the amorphous chimerical links between societies and forms of expression.
    adrin neatrour 27 July 2009

  • Ma Nuit chez Maud (My Night at Mauds) Eric Rohmer (Fr 1969 )

    Ma Nuit chez Maud ( My Night at Mauds) Eric Rohmer (Fr 1969 ) Jean Louis Trintignant, Francois Fabras, Marie-Christian Barrault

    Retrocrit – More seen than heard.
    Often described as talk driven, and talk centred I found it was in the film, its settings and cinematography that the Rohmer inscribed his central moral concerns.

    For me two shots stood out as defining certain central concerns about which Ma Nuit chez Maud (MNCM) revolves. Eric Rohmer (ER) does not use montage, his sequences comprise compositions built into the shot, the montage shot. There is a shot where Jean-Louis (Sic) forced by circumstances to stay over chez Francoise (F), insists on making tea for the two of them. This is the first time they have actually been together and in a sense are strangers to each other. But JL does not so much make the tea as produce a theatrical performance out of making a pot of tea for two. All the actions are magnified and accompanied by gestural signs that this is a demonstration of masculine competence, a played out ritual form like the priest preparing the communion wafer. The reason I find the shot significant is because it points to an example of existential bad faith, and existentialism as a popular philosophy was part of mental fabric of the ‘60’s. Sartre gave as an example of bad faith, living in denial of being, the waiter at a café who acted (had to act?) out the role of waiter: a situation where the waiter’s role was in an expressive performance which appropriated his being. The shot of JL making a pot of tea gave the same impression as Sartre’s waiter and in looking at JL’s behaviour in the film it appears to me that ER’s concern with moral behaviour is rooted in the key psychosocial ideas generated by existentialism ideas that are themically taken up developed elaborated and intensified by artists. Sartre of course as a philosopher was originally a phenomenologist and took as a starting point propositions related to observation which were not limited to written descriptions but could be extended to other expressive forms.

    The other shot that stood out for me in MNCM was one of the opening sequences introducing JL. He has just been to church and during the sequence that filmed part of the liturgy leading up to Holy Communion we see JL’s interest in an attractive blond chick (F) just a few pews away. From the interior of the church ER cuts to the exterior of the church at the end of the service. We see JL get in his car ready to stalk F to find where she lives. The stalking shot by JL by F is shot from the interior of the car ( there are in fact two shots but similar enough in composition to understand that the sequence was most likely conceived of as one shot). The shot in its interiority and intentionality comprises the most tense sequence in the film, as it has an inherent remorseless psychopathic quality. We don’t just feel we are in the interior of the car; we are in the interior of this guy’s mind. He’s man on the hunt; more accurately man machine on the hunt. An individual with a machine essence, ER’s modern corporate man on the loose, looking for his mechanical bride.

    Mechanical Bride ( the Folklore of Industrial Man) is of course the title of Marshall McLuhan’s first published work, and like most of his oeuvre comprises an assemblage of text and image. Essays chronicling the way machine imagery in advertising in particular in relation to the automobile, interpenetrate contemporary consciousness. And in MNCM JL is corporate man par excellence, working as an engineer for Michelin in Clermont. JL wants life to grip the road just like tyres.

    The core of the film is the sequence in which JL spends ‘the night chez Maud (M). It unfolds as a classic encounter between utterances made in good and bad faith. M has no ultimate justifying faith or philosophy; but she is honest straightforward about her life and emotions and answers the questions that JL asks. She is also attracted to JL and is open enough to show it. M lives in her being and stays true to this however hard. JL cannot answer M without prevarication and resort to justifying religious or quasi philosophical points. And when asked outright a question about his emotional commitment, he has nothing to offer a lie. There is no blond, he tells M in response to her question. But JL has already informed the viewers in voice over that he will marry the blond ( even though he has not yet actually met her). At this point JL’s philosophical and religious musings are revealed as feints; acts of specious textual enunciations designed to misdirect his audiences away from his own mechanicality, to misrepresent himself as a thinking man.

    There may be many reasons that attract people to philosophy: both love of
    knowledge and indifference to knowledge. Indifference is attracted to philosophy in order to hide its shame. So JL’s feint serves him well as a protective shell in the face of M’s truth, and his own attraction to M. JL ultimately only has a lie to offer, and obviously the most important person to deceive is himself. JL lays claim to the statistical propositions of Pascal in relation both to the chance of God’s existence and the advantages of taking chance when there is little to lose. In fact JL doesn’t take chances. For this reason he rejects M and hunts Francois whom he has already staked out in church. F is like a Chevrolet, an ideal religiocorporate product and JL can trust this brand like General Motors or Michelin. The blond who goes to church; her value system and desires are as open to JL as the promises of an automobile advert. Whatever JL may self believe he and F do not meet by chance; as per the car tracking shot, he hunts her down and as a corporate man gives her the chance to be the corporate wife in Clermont. F as wife is something he can control just like his car. JL would never control M, she would control him and for that reason she terrifies him. At one level MNCM is a feminist moral fable of its time.

    The playing of the roles by all the actors in MNCM is nicely tuned. But in particular JLT creates an amazing physical presence out of his namesake Jean Louis. Playing JL, JLT creates a character with a haunting slimy physicality that reminds me of Robespierre. As if Robespierre were transposed and packaged as corporate man in 20 century France. Like Robespierre, JL is represented with a crabbed knotted body and soul that signals the presence of huge muscular effort required by his being to suppress the destructive negative forces trying to smash their way out of his persona. JL’s presence is always a mask: an act of bad faith: a lie. Like Robespierre JL is perhaps a man who hides behind the veil of specious philosophical concerns, busies himself with the minutiae of life whilst waiting for the opportunity to indulge desires hidden even from himself.

    Buried in the final sequence of the final reel ER uncovers in the sand a final philosophical irony. The sequence takes place 5 years later, as the intertitle says when JL and F have married. As we contemplate the family, JL F and son they seem to me as a group somehow dead, or lacking life. Perhaps a trick of the camera or light? Certainly the existence together of JL and F is based on lies and deception about the events that the audience has seen. Their relationship is premised on deception, and yet in their own way they seem happy enough.. In contrast to M who has also appeared in this final sequence. For her with a life based on honesty there is only disappointment and unhappiness. The ending is ER’s final ironic statement in MNCM about the place of philosophy in human relations.
    adrin neatrour