The role of Charcot was originally designed for Benoît Poelvoorde. See more »
from the film soundtrack "Remnants of Everest The 1996 Tragedy"
Music and Lyrics by Jocelyn Pook See more »
Look but don't touch
The film obsesses on her body. Of course. She is one of the most riveting screen presences I've ever seen. It watches her suffer and go into seizures, not sadistically, but where everyone applauds it becomes this patriarchal remark. But I see that as a low reading. It's not about illness or feminism, but theater. And within this frame of hypnosis and control--its theater--she has him, she enters his frame before vast audiences. It's a noir battle of oneupmanship, manipulation, seduction, between class barriers. Naturally then it would conclude with controlling from within the frame, is the tight-rope it walks on 'power'. Soko's motivation as performer seems to be as voyeur, to lay bare and offer everything. The film finds the sensual in banality, and the other way. Yet it's how the scientists watch her, treat her, tweak her, experiment, she is their subject same as director's. Her body is used as our subject as a means for understanding their scientific obsession with her, and in both instances ends with some destructive love. It is both frank and delicate, it finds the poetry in both. Or as if the filmmakers schemed to merely bring her before the cameras and then their job was done. She is a muse in every layer of this. For being a servant around the wealthy, we, like the camera don't care about the elite class, the entire patriarchy, their achievements and self-absorption, it all crumbles. The camera's fascination with her then is also mischievous, it's subversive, like a secret they have hidden away. There again the feminism of the piece, a toy story. Augustine would be the title of a film about nobility, wouldn't it? So the contrast to name it Augustine and it's just about the servant having some dreadful illness, it's again, subversive to how she'd be discarded and forgotten in this time, while at the same time naming her also raises her. It says she is actually the important one, her illness is all the pains of society foisted on the underclass to bear.
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