Monday, November 14, 2005

Leila


Responses generated by the audience (paraphrased and condensed):

-- I’m surprised that even though the movie is feminist in its story, we see patriarchy being enforced by a woman rather than a man. It is the mother-in-law who causes the family’s demise.

-- That patriarchy is represented not through the men in the movie, but through the actions of a female, is a clear example of how the oppressed often perpetuate their own oppression.

-- Why is the husband such an angel? He is perfect.

-- It’s a fairy tale. We don’t see such characters in real life.

-- It actually is a very honest picture of middle-eastern and Irani views on marriage.

-- The husband isn’t really an angel. He is a very impotent character here, one who cannot or does not appear as a strong figure, one who does not make a stand against his mother.

-- The men here are mostly submissive: both husband and father-in-law seem unable to be part of the decision making scheme in the two families.

-- The movie is a cry for men and women both to see more in the relation between man and women than the begetting of children. The couple’s life together demonstrated their ability to create, not necessarily children, but rather a happy and productive life.

-- The movie uses color to background the feelings of the characters, moving away from the Hollywood tradition of using music for such effect.

-- The billboard that the wife hid behind in order to see the new wife had a picture of a man’s eyes, enlarged. This reminds me of The Great Gatsby where the billboard was a witness to the husband cheating on his wife.

-- The billboard’s eyes also suggest the idea of the gaze, a very recurrent theme in feminist works.


My connection was acting up so I could't post this last night.

8 comments:

Jewaira said...

It's great that you are posting about this. Keep it up :)

William said...

"The movie uses color to background the feelings of the characters, moving away from the Hollywood tradition of using music for such effect."

That would be a welcomed change in my opinion. I hate seeing movies where you can almost predict what will happen next due to the mood-specific music.

The Stallion said...

I only wished I could have seen this movie! I had to go to a farewell dinner!

Hanan said...

jewaira. u betcha :)
william. yes the use of color is understated in movies.
stallion. 2 more shows left. try to make it.

The Stallion said...

Inshallah but no promises!

mishari26 said...

Unfortunately, I had to leave 2/3's of the way during the story, work called :P

I must say the film is made with extreme mastery over emotions and is in perfect tune with the character's moods. Here are some observations I thought were genius touches by the filmmaker:

- The opening cooking shot was very very long (uncut) and it seemed to be extremely hard to do. Other long short throughout the movie were during the family picnic where the mother 1st brings up the issue of the 2nd wife to Leila. The set is an endless river of interesting characters and props that extends horizontally in both directions left and right, and the actors seem to be at such ease when the camera pans over them, its everyday life in Iran.

- Astonishingly, only when we're in the guest room of Reza's father does this happen. Some characters come to face the camera and talk to us directly and within the context of the film's reality, as if we're sitting there with them drinking tea! This happens twice in the 1st time we're there, before we learn of Leila's medical issue, then the 2nd time when we're back in the guest room to semi-celebrate Reza's second marriage.

I wonder what's the significance of this. I appreciate the method's elegance, but I don't understand why it only happens there in Reza's father's house.

- I noticed in a few scenes where Leila seems so incredibly stressed that she's holding tight onto a glass of water and sucking hard draughts from it. This is repeated atleast twice by my count. Again I could not understand the significance of those specific gestures.

- Some scenes are concluded by an intense and bright hot flash of red, into a whiteout instead of a blackout. Those aren't many, and seemingly they serve as book-ends to the film's chapters. As if signalling the movement from one act to the next.

- Certain shots like in the hospital hallway when the couple are leaving after hearing the test results. The couple walk away and fade away and reappear further along the hallway a few times. This gave me a powerful sense of time skipping, as if the enormity of the news is so heavy on the minds of both of them that they are barely aware of time as they're walking. The power I think comes from how the method pulls me violently and plants me firmly into the mindset of the characters, and not merely as an observer. The empathy is maximaixed to extra ordinary levels here. It forced me to feel her grief.

These are but a few things that I was able to remember, I wished I had brought a notebook and a pen to remember more. It was trule a masterpiece of a film. I only wish I could have stayed to complete it :P

Hanan said...

mishari. welcome to my blog. I enjoyed your analysis of the movie. I don't remember as much of it as you do, but the use of color naturally caught my attention. It's not the red only though. Yellow was another dominant color. The opeing food scene contains a yellow dish called yellow something. And if I remember correctly, on of those flashes were yellow a well, although the dominant color used for those is red. The red and yellow reminded me of The Village. I would love to see the movie again to see if I can find any significance to the yellow haze.

guile said...

worth checking out..