A simple idea perhaps, but hard not to be taken by the reflective tone and flowing camera
A man lies awake in bed, unable to sleep but also unable to get any inspiration to write. A thunderstorm brings his young son into the room, however the man puts him back to his own bed, albeit switching on the nightlight before leaving. Back in his own bed, he starts to reflect on his time as a children and the impact the action of his own parents had on him growing up.
As a narrative, 1982 is very simple – so simple in fact that to write down what it is about and what it concludes, is really to do it a disservice because it would make it sound far too pat and obvious a piece. That said though, I do not see any problem with it being this way, because the reflections of the man in the film are really no more or less inspired than the thoughts we all have as we reach an age where we not only see our parents as human, but also see the flaws they had, and start to see that ultimately we are just products of their environment. That the idea is not original or particularly earth-shattering though, is not to say that the delivery has no role in making it more – and indeed this is what the film does.
From the modern day, the camera moves back in time to see the boy in his home environment – it is a transition done by camera movement alone, and it is this camera movement that continues throughout. Although it is not delivered in one continuous take (which would have been impossible really – and unnecessary), the camera has a continuous pace of movement through a period in the boy's life (the title suggesting it is all in the formative year of 1982) where we see the boy acting out in response to fighting in the home, tensions between his parents, and other events of significance. There is no great tumultuous excess, or showpiece moment, but rather just constant and small impacts and influences, which makes it more engaging and satisfying. It works as well as it does because it is accompanied by Beethoven the whole time, matching the pace of the camera and matching the reflective mood of the character and the film.
It is as ordinary as the man's thoughts, but yet personal and touching regardless. Likewise the final image (and conclusion of the thought process) could be seen to be a touch obvious as it relates to the narrative, however it is still a nice conclusion and it has a certain touching quality. I guess it helps to be of the age where you can relate to the main character, and one also needs to be in the mood for it since there are aspects of it that are a shade aware of its own importance, but mostly it is a very engaging little film because of how it takes a recognizable state of mind, and delivers it in a reflective and flowing manner.
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