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And now for the first movie...

October 4th, 2008 (10:53 pm)
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© 2008
D. Gordon

Kolekcioniere (The Collectress)
Dir: Kristina Buozyte
Lithuania, 2008

Motion pictures have been pretty popular for decades. Something about a larger-than-life image projected across a screen just captures the human imagination (hey, you see me writing this blog, right?). Add to that Andy Warhol's legendary 15 minutes of fame, and the ease with which you can walk into a store and buy a video camera, and maybe that partly explains the attraction - although that 15 mins sometimes comes up in ways a little out of the norm.

Gaile is pretty successful at life. She's a speech therapist in a small but profitable private practice, she has a nice apartment and enough money to be comfortable, overall she's in a pretty good place in life. None of this should change drastically when she loses her father to suicide after a diagnosis of advanced cancer (he didn't wait to wait around because "hospitals and pills were not for him"). Gaile's in a bit of understandable denial about the whole thing: she only had days between finding out about the diagnosis and her father's suicide, while her sister blithely continues on, roping her boyfriend into an engagement and merrily planning her wedding ceremony.

Events change Gaile, making her emotionally frozen - although the signs she can recognize in her child patients she's unable to see in herself. She refuses to take any time off, she becomes brusque and excludes her boss from decisions, and it's not until she sees herself in a video while giving a professional presentation that she clues in – it's her own image on the screen that she relates to, that makes her feel – nothing else. She goes back to the alcoholic "artiste" of an editor who did the presentation for her, and thus starts an ever-descending spiral into more and more extreme behavior as Gaile becomes increasingly abusive for the camera, in an effort to just feel, and Marius the editor follows her lead.

On the surface, it appears that Gaile has become somewhat of a sociopath, broken by her father's death. Her moral compass is gone when performing the actions, but resurfaces when she watches. But it's not quite clear that that's things are that simple: she actually helps get Maruis's alcoholic, gambling-addicted life in rough order (although he is free to screw it up again at will). And her final act may actually be a lot more selfless than it appears, although those involved may never fully understand. There are few black and whites in this story, and maybe the empathetic Gaile still exists.

Yes, Virginia, Lithuania does have a film industry, and if this is any indication, it's doing quite well.

I don't know what's behind the low rating on imdb, though. This was pretty solid entertainment.