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i finally got around to watch 'Dancer in the Dark' and it was... ah well. i spent the last half hour painfully swallowing past the lump in my throat, blinking away tears, while at the same time clenching my teeth and furiously forbidding myself to cry (something i wouldn't normally do, because recently any kind of feeling is welcome). not that it isn't good - i guess it is -, Björk is amazing, the musical parts blend into the story beautifully... but. the story. yet again a celebration of female suffering and self-sacrifice, presented in a way that i already found hard to tolerate in 'Breaking the Waves'. the fact that it is ultimately Selma's decision, her refusal to do the 'normal', reasonable thing, to give in to the pleas of her friends, of the man who loves her and try defend herself, doesn't make it any easier to swallow having to watch her being victimised and finally martyred as the movie goes on and on. not to be mistaken, i'm not so self centred as not to see that there are cases where such a decision might be necessary and inescapable, but what i can't help feeling uneasy about is von Trier's way of almost sanctifying it. in 'Breaking the Waves' Bess's husband recovering, the church bells finally ringing, here Kathy coming to witness the execution, ultimately agreeing with Selma's decision, passing her her son's glasses, who has successfully undergone surgery. (at the price of his mother's life. when one has wiped away the sentimental tears one might prosaically wonder how he'll be able to live with that.) and it's always women, always. suffering, abused, selflessly sacrificing themselves for husbands and children. to me this is just another romanticised brand of age old misogyny.

(and at a random guess there probably are quite a few blind people who would object to the reasoning that an innocently executed mother is a better fate than blindness.)

or maybe i just expected something different, because i've always loved Björk's 'i have seen it all', its defiant rejection, and the movie just isn't much like that...

moreover, despite the quality & general artsiness, i never quite could escape the feeling that in some respects it's quite a calculated tearjerker.

(i'm trying to decided if von Trier maybe intended the possibility of another reading, a subtle criticism of the pressure and expectations women experience from society, because after all Selma's trouble started when she felt she needed to have a child, despite her better knowledge, but i suspect he should be taken at face value, such as it is.)


also watched x-men (the movie), which wasn't all that bad. esp. Ian McKellen's character makes sad, perfect sense. gives the movie some depth. all the more tragic because (one assumes, and certainly, Patrick Stewart's character aside, there is nothing to indicate otherwise) none of those who fight for or against him know what moves him...

the final scene, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart sitting in Magneto's plastic prison, talking, playing chess not with a black and white set, but with transparent and milky pieces. old friends, not-quite opponents. beautiful.


in other news, i reconnected to my inner hair colour and dyed my hair red again. it's not quite as bright as i wanted it to, being still rather dark to start with, but i feel more like myself, even though i did like the black, sort of. more than sort of, even.

my hair still smells like henna, dark-smoky-woodsy...


solitary summer

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January 2016


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