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Re: Maria Full of Grace

From: blp
Category: Art
Date: 18 April 2005


The idea of mixing up documentary and fiction is not new. In fact, it could be said to be Godardian - he said reportage was best when it was done as fiction and fiction was his preferred medium of reportage. The Czech film 'Mysteries of the Organism' mixed the two explicitly back in the sixties. Bresson always used untrained actors to play roles very similar to their real lives. Herzog often did too.

I never said the filmmaker shouldn't have made this film. What I actually think - pardon me if I didn't make myself clear - is that he should have made a film that showed its vulnerability a little more - and that means its contradictions, conflicts and POTENTIALLY questionable morality. You applaud him as a journalist who made a film about another side of the drug trade - again, a film about something important and again I say, when was something important ever just a simple story? You applaud him for combining fiction and documentary, but it all looks like realist fiction and there's a big problem with that. The reason for combining the two is that they can act as critiques of each others usually implicit subjectivity. With this all we get is the filmmaker's view, but presented not as a view but as the objective truth by virtue of its realist treatment. And we get it complete with moving manipulative music that tells us implicitly how to feel.

As for falling in love with the main actress or thinking the acting was good - OK, fine, if that's what you want, though it's not hard to come by.

Not a masterpiece, not a masterpiece. Whatever. I don't really care whether anything's a masterpiece, just whether an artist's imagination has done art justice and done reality justice and I don't think that's happened here. Total object complete with missing parts - that's what I want: the admission that there are missing parts and not these boring illusions of completeness. I never denied that the film was 'good'. But as I said before, that doesn't leave us much to say or anywhwere to go.

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