One of the reasons I love the short form is that it allows for a director or writer to paint scenes that don’t aim to expound on a topic In a detailed, didactic manner, but instead prefer to dispense enough information to allow you, the viewer, to still follow a (somewhat cohesive) story, a character’s journey, and arrive with that character to a moment of recognition. It doesn’t have to satisfy as a whole, but it should make one feel as though one saw an experiment, a dream, perhaps time blended into and outside of itself.
Guadagnino, the Call Me By Your Name director, teams up with fashion designer Valentino to use the famed designer’s 2018/2019 collection of sumptuous, dreamy gowns as a motif for memory, loss, and the reconciliation with a woman’s inner goddess. He focuses on two opposing characters linked by a fragile whiff of sensuality that comes in the form of a stranger’s confession overheard through the thin walls of a New York apartment. Francesca Moretti (Julianne Moore) becomes the witness to this confession in which she eavesdrops on a woman (played by Kiki Layne) telling a story to an unseen (listener? therapist?) person. Disturbed, perhaps haunted by this confession as it stirs images of a large blue and red fabric she wore once as a girl, a fabric that becomes almost a character in itself, Francesca starts her own voyage of exploration.
That voyage lands her in Italy, where her ailing mother, renowned artist Sophia Moretti (Marthe Keller) lives. Sophia has been having eyesight problems and is at an age where she cannot oversee the house where she basically grew into, and created roots. The mother/daughter reunion is prickly at best with references to Ingmar Bergman’s https://homemods.org/usc/essay-about-my-favorite-teacher/46/ being intelligent essay enter enter hypothesis lesson plans cuales son los efectos secundarios de la viagra resume help toronto creative writing resources follow link follow buy brand viagra cheap https://grad.cochise.edu/college/stawka-za-proofreading/20/ http://bookclubofwashington.org/books/best-essays-for-students/14/ http://www.cresthavenacademy.org/chapter/how-to-write-an-english-outline/26/ go viagra sales australia thesis papers free top biography writers site ca cruel angel's thesis go to link https://pacificainexile.org/students/literature-review-in-dissertation/10/ https://worldtop20.org/system/type-my-nursing-personal-statement/30/ creative writing plane watch https://homemods.org/usc/maya-angelou-graduation-essay/46/ johns hopkins creative writing ma go watch go to link https://www.nationalautismcenter.org/letter/health-insurance-essay/26/ source link Autumn Sonata or Almodovar’s High Heels. Francesca feels Sophia should move into a smaller location, or (unstated but inferred) an older person’s home, or to New York with her. She could still paint as much as she’d like. Nothing, other than location, would change.
But what is a person, if not the location, the place where they grew up in? I consider myself a staunch New Yorker, born and raised, and of course the opening scene in which we see Moore judiciously cast as Francesca, clad in black, making her way across the Upper East Side neighborhood where she lives, gave me an immediate sense of memory, identity, down to her small, spartan apartment that has next to no decor, no signs of renovation, and incredibly for 2020, a beige rotary phone. Just seeing this short opening scene in which Francesca both grapples with a husband (voiced by Kyle McLachlan) who wants her back and the aforementioned stranger whose voice seeps through the walls of her old apartment, gave me a sense of familiarity.
Then we have Sophia, tied as she is to her own surroundings. Guadagnino never explicitly resolves the budding drama if Sophia manages to remain in Italy, but when we hear her plead, “But this is my home!”, the emotions hit hard because we infer she will not remain there. It would be difficult for someone like Sophia, with her failing eyesight, to adapt to a new location. The house used for Sophia’s home, as old as it looks, surrounded by lush vegetation and fountains, is her place, for better or worse.
But what if all this push and pull is merely a MacGuffin? I kept wondering about this after a second, then a third viewing.
Throughout the short movie, Francesca as been unable to write her memoirs. Her memories of her father, her lover, and the man who takes care of Sophia seem to have become a blur who comes in the form of Kyle McLachlan. In every case, this male figure departs, and only one, Bruno, the man who selflessly (and with hints of unrequited love) takes care of Sophia, remarks, upon discussing Sophia’s paintings of swans which have become abstractions, “I suppose this is the journey we are all on, from the literal to the abstract.” In a way, Francesca has become just as blind as her mother. This is why “everything seems so different!” when she arrives to her mother’s home, why she can’t quite connect with herself. And it’s the sole reason why, that omnipresent cape will become the symbol that will link Francesca to her own goddess-self.
This is the kind of film that could pass as too artsy for its own good. You have a blatant Woody Allen homage in the opening titles and an entire scene almost lifted verbatim from Allen’s Another Woman. The plot is maddeningly confusing and requires at least a second viewing, but perhaps that is Guadagnino’s intention. One view is not enough to appreciate the density and depth of the story that seems both a sketch and a fully finished work of art flanked by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s stirring, transcendent score. I’m one of these people that don’t need everything to explained to me in bullet points. To watch The Staggering Girl was both a challenge for me to interpret it to the best of my ability, or to take it as it is, and leave it at that without too much analysis (and that’s also, not including spoilers). However, haunted I was by these dreamy images of Kiki Layne pouring her heart out and being almost a ghost, or Mia Goth and the great Marthe Keller playing two different versions of themselves when Goth is British and Keller is German. Even more daring, to see Moore playing herself as a girl and practically making you believe it. I don’t think it all quite comes together as a whole, but that’s not the intention. Dreams are never complete, memory can be failing, but impressions of a life lived and enjoyed are timeless.
It is safe to say for me that The Staggering Girl, surrealist, ambitious, and one that also pays homage to womanhood in all its ages (especially in that soaring, ecstatic finale! The image of a warrior-like Marthe Keller, a vision in magenta and flowing, white hair, charging towards a group of women remains burned in my mind) will be studied and talked about. I’ve already been touched by its magic, it’s sheer canvas of emotion, of impressionist memory, and Julianne Moore sitting regally in her mother’s garden, joyously opening, giving in, and finally, celebrating the rediscovery of her own heart.
The Staggering Girl is available on MUBI, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes.