Losing Ground

Losing Ground ★★★★

Gorgeous movie. It is enough for the afternoon light to pour in through tall windows, to turn on a lamp in the attic, to watch a couple bicker in the candlelight.

A movie about black ennui: Sara is burdened by her bourgeois life. Her bohemian husband mocks and humiliates her. She gives dry lectures and visits dusty libraries, coming up short on her pursuit of ecstatic experience. The institutions that should confer economic freedom are the source of her emotional limitations.

Her husband's outrageous behavior frees her anger. But her real catharsis comes in enacting someone else's drama. She spends the movie reading, seeking record of ecstatic experience: other people's poetry. In acting out a love affair - the passion, the betrayal, the revenge - shes no longer the reader, but the read, intriguing and complex and stubborn in her mystery. Though her ecstasy looks more like agony to me.

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