WITH the Canberra International Music Festival just around the corner, an unusual hook between the 29th Alliance Française French Film Festival and Hotel Hotel will see French pianist and Ravel expert Maxime Zecchini performing tomorrow […]
FILMMAKER David Lowery’s film rather defies the conventions of the ghost genre. It spends a lot of time doing nothing, saying nothing. When it does resort to spoken words, they are few in number except for a mid-film homily about the intransigence of life, the deniability of religion and the ability of mankind to do itself great harm for unconvincing reasons.
Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play C and M, about to move from an outer-suburban bungalow to a metropolitan apartment. But C dies in a car accident. After M farewells him as he lies on the mortuary slab, she covers his head with the sheet.
C’s ghost is in no hurry to get moving. It would be a mistake for a film audience to laugh at Lowery’s selection from the cinematic conventions available to guide directors in displaying a ghost’s departure from the body. But it is visually amusing.
The ghost returns to the house. M moves out. New owners arrive. In time, M’s ghost appears but the two shroud-covered ectoplasms remain forever apart. The film observes the wanderings of C. In a future era, C observes urban sprawl on the site of the now demolished house and building a high-rise office block, jumping from the roof of which he tries unsuccessfully to end his grief and loneliness. The location reverts to the arrival of the first settlers to establish a homestead that native Americans shortly wipe out and finally to C and M living in the original building. In a ghost story, such shifts of time and place are feasible.
The film’s reported budget was $US100,000. After seeing it in an otherwise empty cinema, I came away feeling it had challenged my emotions at a level that fulfilled Lowery’s intentions quite effectively.
At Palace Electric