Robert quit a career in music and left his home to live as a simple worker, a simple life.
The movie starts with everyday's life, and ordinary hard working people's problems. Robert was compromised to be with a good girl that wasn't filling any void inside of him though. It wasn't her fault since Rayette was a lovely character, not so bright or educated but kind hearted, in contrast with Robert who had serious issues.
When things went wrong with his friend, he also learned about his dad being seriously ill. He tried to hold back his girlfriend from following him, and that's the first key point of the movie. She came along with him and during the trip they gave a lift to two weird women.
The second key point was the words of one of the women, about dirt and filth. If you will forget those words, you might get disappointed by the ending of the movie. If you keep that in mind, everything goes normally.
For a second time he avoids taking Rayette with him. Maybe because he knew that the root of all of his problems was lying there. Seems like Robert disrespects women, but he honestly knows who is wrong and who isn't. Its his fault. He finally arrives at the house. He sees his father, the father, after two strokes is almost 100% numb, unable to speak. He can only move some muscles on his face and not always. Robert's reaction, when he saw his father assured me about lots of things.
He was in a house, extremely disciplined, obsessed with music. It was the boring prison of his pressing and submissive father, his father made him lose the music inside him, because music shouldn't become a jail of discipline and high hopes of somebody else. We can also see that, when Robert speaks about anything but classical music and his brother tries to "protect" his wife from this "bad" affection. And it was the only enjoyable moment in the house. His brother was full of sarcasm, like Robert was the black sheep of the family. His brother's wife also asked him how he was bored when he was a child. She was doing lots of things and she was there for about two months. When he answered that he was doing nothing (because of his submissive dad) it was a revelation about what Robert was.
He made sex with his brother's wife, in order to set her free, he liked her. She was filling the void, but she didn't wanted him, because she could see through. He had no love, as she said, for anyone or anything. He had no music inside him.
While leaving with Rayette to head back to their ordinary life, which he hated because it was also a bad routine for him, he stopped at a gas station, went to restrooms, and took a look at himself. Before that Rayette was singing, trying to cheer him up. He had no music inside him. He treated her badly once again.
He realised what was the problem. What he was hating most could be himself, for making things wrong wherever he was going. He left her and everything else to start a new life or maybe to isolate himself. He realised that he was keeping his father inside him for so many years, that he was mentally damaged. A very well directed film, an interesting drama. The movie was incredible i guess since it was released at 1970. Well directed, nice actors and if you have ever freely played an instrument, the movie can touch you deeper.
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