Monday, November 2, 2009

natter, chatter ... 'Talk to her'

Reading group's inbox flooded with run-on discussions on Pedro Almodovar's Spanish movie 'Talk to her'(2002). As informed earlier, Sowmya initiated an argument, in the form of a questionnaire, raising some vital doubts on reading/understanding this movie. Barath responded, though there are clues that indicate Benigno is gay as well as bisexual, it wouldn't have stopped him 'loving'/'raping' Alicia. This, he reasoned, might have been due to Benigno's back ground. He also maintained that Marcos "couldn't have 'raped' Alicia". He agreed with Sowmya's observation that 'when could have Marcos possibly raped Alicia?'.

Lenny brought the 'auteur' into account. Though, he concurred Benigno must have 'raped' Alicia, he questioned the motive of the director. He doubted whether the director wanted the audience to read things in a certain way. He discussed man's 'gaze', visual narrative, constructed 'feminity' and 'effeminity' and alternate sexuality. He concluded the author might have 'naturally' wanted the audience to imagine a relationship between Marcos and Alicia.

Jananie (after a long gap) contributed some significant points, thereby making the discussion vivid. She notified Almodovar was a gay and indicated a certain pattern in his movies -( All About My Mother, The Bad Education, Talk To Her, Volver). They were: a. sympathetic representation of non-straight men vs possible 'villainisation' of straight men.
b.sexual ambiguity of the male characters and their typification.
c. The focus on alternative/ambiguous sexuality contributes to the perception of alternative sexuality and/as disease in contemporary society.
She interrogated whether the assumed 'rape' is rape at all. She also added that most of his movies have a dearth of lesbian characters and the 'straight' women who appear are victimized by men.

Bipin was annoyed by the 'language' used by the participants and the constructed ways of 'reading' the movie. He urged for alternative readings. He considered the movie to be a thriller. He recounted that as he came out of the hall he was completely confused as to know who the 'culprit' was. However, he agreed that through the 'silent movie' the director conveyed the 'unsaid said' as to who could have been the culprit i.e Benigno. On the other hand, he also believed the movie is ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations.

Lenny built upon Jananie's contribution/suggestion. He augmented that sexuality and disease in this movie could be seen in the context of larger social frameworks and institutions such as religion and law, family and state, hospital and prison. He considered this movie also talks about the (in)capability of expressing feelings and emotions, and alternative forms of expression other than 'talking'. He noted that 'rape' and 'making love' were ambiguous terms to describe the alleged act/crime.

what a discussion we've had ... hope there's more to natter and chatter...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

hi - after a prolonged gap; here, attempts at a recap. (we know, we were other-wise-busy).

the reading group was quiet for the past few days. though we watched a couple of movies, the discussions weren't as lively as we've had earlier (why?). well, the spanish movie 'talk to her' - initiated a discussion. Sowmya initiated an argument over the 'rape of Alicia' on friday, post-screening. what followed was a set of questions and two long interpretations/readings. Apparently, Sowmya suggested whether this could be carried forward into a combined paper on "straight"ness of cinema.

remember, the group also watched the tamil movie 'paruthiveeran' a month ago.

these are the questions Sowmya formulated:

1. yes, all clues point towards benigno being gay. but why was he behind
Alicia in the first place? he could be bi-sexual but does that mean he
would not have made love to her?
2. why did the silent movie about the dwarfed man entering the woman
disturb benigno? he says he was disturbed and then we see the formation of
an embryo.
3. If Alicia cant recognise anything in her coma state, how can she
recognise marcos in the end? only because they made love?
4. i vaguely remember marcos saying that "benigno gave life to Alicia"
does he say that? if yes, what does it mean?
5. is there any indication of when marcos could have "raped" alicia?