Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Scenes from a marriage, the short version

All it took was letter from Swiss authorities indicating that the body of a long lost girlfriend has been found. Katya died in 1962 while she and Geoff (Tom Courtenay) were hiking around Europe. She had fallen into an icy crevasse and her body preserved by the alpine glacier. This sets off a series of introspective dialogues between Geoff and his wife Kate (Charlotte Rampling, Oscar nomination for Best Actress) who ironically are planning their 45th anniversary banquet the following weekend. (They had to postpone the 40th because Tom had a bypass). Kate asks him about what his relationship with Katya was like, culminating with, “If she hadn’t died…would you have married her?” “Yes,” he responds unequivocally. Kate then discovers Geoff one night in the attic searching for Katya’s picture. “It’s just a fucking picture,” he says, defensively, when she confronts him. Some days later, when Geoff is at a retirement luncheon, Kate investigates the attic herself and find slides of Katya in a projector. The dead woman’s psychological presence weighs on her. “It’s like she’s been standing in the corner of the room all this time,” she angrily says. Geoff, sheepishly, tries to pretend Katya doesn’t matter but Kate understands differently. “I think I was enough for you,” she tells him. “I just don’t think you do.” On the day of their banquet they appear at the hall, all smiles, amongst friends and family. Geoff makes a speech. “The choices we make when we’re young are pretty bloody important,” he says, with Kate sitting by his side at least appearing admiring. Geoff breaks down in tears when he finishes and says he loves her. They have the first dance at the end of which the crowd applauds. But… 45 Years - opening Friday at The Maple - directed by Andrew Haigh and based on the story In Another Country by David Constantine, is a kind of snapshot version of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 Scenes from a Marriage.  (45 Years runs 1.35 hrs, the famously long Scenes runs 4.55.) Simple unexpected events incrementally open more and more doors into the psychological depths of a long time relationship only to find it’s built on a shaky foundation. Courtenay and Rampling are exceptionally good conveying the subtle words and expressions that depict skepticism (her) and evasiveness (him). When he feels guilty he tries to make it up by doing small favors for her; how common is that? Both actors are seasoned veterans and their performances here were probably close to effortless. All the more why this film is worth your attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment