relationship: French style
By K.S. Sivakumaran
the 14th International Film Festival of Kerala (KIFF) held
between December 11 and 18 last year (2009) I witnessed two
French films on the first day. One was a Retrospective Film made
in 1962 in the heydays of the celebrated French New Wave
directed by one of the masters of Classic Cinema, Francois
Truffaut. It was called Jules and Jim. And the other was of
fairly recent origin (2007) made by one of the first time
directors in France, Jean Pascal Hattu. The title of the film
was 7 Years.
Let me talk about the second film first in greater detail. 7
Years here refers to the imprisonment of the protagonist for a
period of seven years. But, everything is shown in the
perspective of the heroine.
How I understood the
film can be summed up as follows: Love is one thing, and the
biological need to merge with each other is something else. One
could have sex with a different person even with the knowledge
and approval of one of the married couples. This is what was
happening between three people in the story.
characters were the prisoner sentenced to seven years
imprisonment, his devoted and loving wife and the jailer. In a
way it is a love triangle, but not exactly. But, the story did
not have a straightforward linear narrative. It was a little
complicated. The woman in fact enjoys a domesticated life though
she is capable of finding a job. But, her neighbour wants her
little son in the woman’s care when the neighbour herself goes
to work. Her husband is a truck driver going places. The child
is more affectionate to the woman than to his own mother. The
woman is deeply in love with her husband. She demonstrates
fetish exercises with her husband’s clothes and perfume. The
jump cuts, sharp cutting and meticulous editing take care of.
.Even the sounds synchronising with the different shots. All
this help to accelerate the phase of the movement of the images.
Boredom strikes both husband and wife separately in their own
environment. Sex is a channel for self-satisfaction and sane-sex
satisfaction in the men.
The conflict occurs when the jailer makes advances on the woman.
The woman considers herself only as a tool to satisfy her bodily
needs. But, deep within her mind and soul she is with her own
Relationships such as these in other parts of the world are not
uncommon. Therefore, the content of the film is rather
outlandish to imagine. But such interpretations are also
possible. However, the film is engrossing till the last. How it
ends is both obvious and yet inconclusive. The ultimate message
is that love has many a splendour.