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Expressive of both Psychological and Physical Pain
From the viewpoint of an American who may misunderstand the politics and social aspects of European nations, it may be difficult to understand why Rosetta does not pursue social services that can extract her from the misery of her existence. It would appear that she and her mother may be "on the dole," as they manage to subsist, but evidently there are limits. It is evident that there are some who inevitably fall through the cracks, and are not fit for anything other than tedious, menial work - - albeit very noble and sometimes adequate-to-lucrative. Our first sight of her, exploding when she learns she is being laid off from her job, is an early clue that there is a psychological or mental flaw. Possibly a learning disability held her back in her education? It would appear that the dismal state of her mother's alcoholism has caused her to be deeply depressed. It is a poignant scene when her mother is so desperately resisting being put into rehab that she shoves her daughter into the pond and abandons her. Rosetta is terrified, and there is a very real danger that she will drown, as the bottom is too slick to gain footing. She narrowly escapes death, while being ignored by her dear mother. I think one major clue to Rosetta's seeming "inability to deal" is the way she self-treats a lingering abdominal pain. She seems to be having a gynecological difficulty, such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts, which can afflict young women and cause blinding pain. Sturdy girl that she is, the propane canister she carries at the end of the film drives her to tears, not from the weight of the canister, but from the aggravation of the abdominal pain that never leaves her. She may have a streak of pride that prevents her from seeking publicly assisted medical treatment, and a modesty about herself and repugnance of anything sexually related, stemming both from her own physical problems and from observing her mother. The fact that the boy whose job she stole and who is at first treating her with contempt but helps her up, raises the possibility that there is some hope of forgiveness and redemption for her. She is an extremely absorbing character, intriguing because the film leaves so much unsaid. I liked the actress, the character, and the story very much.
The Projectionist's Cut was better!
As a comment on religious repression, familial ostracism, and subliminal incestuous urges, this film might have some value. I'll never forget seeing it in 1968 just when the theater had a new automated system that would raise and lower the curtain in time with the beginning and the end of the movie. On a mid-week night, there were probably only 3 others than myself watching the film. At some point after about one confusing hour, the curtain went down, and the house lights came up. We sat looking at one another in bewilderment. I went out to the lobby and asked the old grouch of a manager if the movie was over. Irritably he asked, "Did it say, 'The End'?" No. He huffed off to the projection booth, came back and said there was one more reel. I returned to my seat. The first ending made more sense than the real one.
A lost film that deserves resurrection.
This heart-tugging April-August romance cannot be equaled for the lush Spanish scenery, excellent photography, haunting music, and courageous humor. A young Timothy Bottoms was fresh from his excellent performance in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, and Maggie Smith was in fine form portraying a spinster whose rose had lost its bloom. Her role is an excellent example of how a skilled, attractive actress enters a more mature, "seasoned" stage of her career. Both characters are slight misfits, fishes out of water on a cut-rate bus tour in the Spanish back-country who begin as antagonists but gradually draw closer. This is a tried formula, but in expert hands. It is a mystery why LOVE AND PAIN has never been marketed in any video format, or posted more prominently on the resume of either of its stars.