Thursday, June 10, 2010

Leaving - Idealism versus Reality

I saw this independent movie called "Leaving" and the implicit subtext was fascinating. Here's the story in a nutshell: Housewife falls in love with another man; leaves husband to pursue true love; husband objects and makes new life impossible; goes back to husband; shoots husband; Fin.

If that synopsis doesn't whet your appetite, maybe this will. The movie is really about the notion that normal life is unbearable. It's a liberal shot across the bow declaring the terribleness of a content life and raising the unreasonable expectation that life is always a bowl of cherries.

What I find most interesting is that this idealized version of life was not intended; the movie was intended as a love story or some other nonsense, but the director couldn't hide his true feelings. They come out in every scene and they are loud and clear to anyone listening.

Initially, the wife doesn't seem discontented with her life. She has a successful husband who apparently cares about her, and kids who love her. While redesigning her home, she meets Ivan but there is little hint of potential romance. As a result of an (contrived) accident, the wife and Ivan must spend time together to see his daughter in Spain. It's on that trip that she "falls" for him and realizes just how much life she is missing. Why she loves this man is somewhat of a mystery, other than a song he sings to her, there is little to suggest that they are truly compatible. Nonetheless, the sex is fantastic and she can't get enough. She's made the decision, her husband and her former life must go.

Life with Ivan is depicted as continual bliss, every action connotes their eternal true love. But would life with Ivan really be so wonderful? Would the magic last forever? Isn't it possible, that over time, Ivan would become like her husband? After all, Ivan had a daughter with a woman who does not want to be with him? Perhaps he has a few flaws, perhaps they would eventually come out? But that would be three dimensional, real.

In fact, the husband is depicted as the only obstacle to their Eden. It's his actions which prevent Ivan and the wife from being together. The implication could not be more clear, eternal bliss is possible if it weren't for the man keeping the wife down.

I would love to make a movie called "Meeting" where the wife and husband first meet. It could show how they were in love, and how their love and infatuation was going to last forever. Instead of shooting her husband, she could have stayed with Ivan. That ending would be more tragic; life with Ivan would become real, just like the one she left.


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