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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
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Blissfully Yours as the film is being called in the U.S. is not a perfect film. That said, my initial reaction fades as I re-examine the film in my mind's eye. It has an ethereal quality, especially the second two-thirds of the film (after the credits finally roll). The film plays with the whole idea of what is film. When does a film begin?
Initially you feel as if you have just walked in on the personal lives of the characters. You are quietly viewing their life, or maybe you're just along for the ride. This is especially driven home while in the car with two of the main characters, Roong and Min, as they drive around. At times you are viewing them from the outside, at others inside the car watching them, and at still others, just looking behind at where they have come from. In a way it is in these sequences that the director gives you clues about how to view the overall film. The first third, prior to the credits, is showing you as a viewer where these three characters come from.
Once the credits roll we only see one other person (ok, we do see the back of another person on a scooter) besides the three main characters. At this point it becomes their film. Their afternoon in the sun. In the jungle, away from all of life's troubles, it is a moment of bliss. It allows Min to forget for a moment his skin problem, and his life left behind in Burma. It allows Roong to forget for a moment her regimented life as a factory girl, laboriously painting the same mass produced items, over, and over again. And it allows Orn the opportunity to finally let go and relax; to come to terms with her own past; wherein, she may have had a child that drowned, and has been unable to forgive herself.
The film is deliberately slow paced, and yet I never once felt bored, or disinterested in what I was watching. It is not filled with action, but with feeling. It is a film about release. The letting go of our worldly cares for a blissful moment in the sun. I recommend you take a lazy afternoon and see Blissfully Yours. Let it help you escape into the jungle of your own mind.
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