Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adieu au Langage: A shamelessly self-celebratory update

Well, apparently I'm not talking nonsense all the time: writer/translator/director Ted Fendt has updated his in-progress list of works cited in Jean-Luc Godard's Adieu au Langage on his MUBI page, adding my conjecture about the now-famous movie's epigraph, "Those lacking in imagination take refuge in reality".

My guess is that the phrase may have been suggested to Godard by an article from "Le Monde" written by French author Marie Darrieussecq. Here you can find my original post on the film, and here is (*Serious-Film-Critic Alert*) Ted's film blog.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A most innocuous enfant terrible: Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)

Like a big Chekhov's gun with the price tag still attached inevitably destined to go off in the final act  no real spoiler here  a sci-fi premise opens Xavier Dolan's latest film: in the year 2015, a superimposed text informs, a Canadian law is enacted that allows parents of mentally ill children to give them in full and irreversible custody to the state's health care system. This not only gives us a rather precise idea about where the story is going to end, but also speaks volumes about how superficial is going to be Dolan's approach to mental illness. Because how blinkered you have to be to ignore how inadequately, to put it mildly, institutions have treated and still treat psychiatric disorders in most societies, and to even make a futuristic preamble out of a burning social problem. The longstanding issue of whether psychiatric patients should be taken care of by the government or the family has no simple solution; involuntary seclusion, and I'm not complaining, is still applied when they threaten other people's safety or their own, with great sadness on the part of the families and those involved. By just setting his movie in the present day Mr. Dolan would have had as much tragedy as he liked.