Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Miami Film Festival

Absolutely blasphemous. To this film, I declare a sentence of: Paint by numbers attempted emotional manipulation, in the name of paganism.

It does away with God and eternity, and with man's kindship with diety. It does away with it, or transforms it into a fable, and puts in its place the modern(or, we might rather say, old pagan) notion that to be a man is to belong to a race endowed with reason, to belong to it as a specimen, so that the race or species is higher than the individual, which is to say that there are no more individuals but only specimens.

-Soren Kierkegaard, an excerpt from 'The Crowd is Untruth'

Amongst many things I ask myself. Does it hold in high regard the idea that a man is a sovereign individual? That a man has a unique eternal element, higher than his understanding? No, it does not. That idea is under attack in a film like this, at every level of analysis.

This is a great example of the void of moral substance in art today, especially in cinema. Not just in content, but in style. The belief that mediocre, "good" lighting, clear pictures, pretty color correction and some ideological theme is enough to carry a film has been proven time and time again by the praise these types of films receive from those not truly educated in the art form. Yet many artists have done much more without, and have stood the test of time.

Form has been completely lost to this idea. An idea that, upon further inspection, puts forth the notion that all films should be the same, with the exception of idiosyncrasies. This film is the epitome of that, a carbon copy of the rest. Paint by numbers attempted emotional manipulation, in the name of paganism.

When referring to the content-or story-of this film, I need not explain why this stands against the values I've mentioned here. But I guess the main thing under attack in this regard is the idea of the great mother as a divine figure. As the most divine picture one can paint, a mother and her child. And this film undermines that at every point and turn. Not to speak of the obvious convinience of the whole film, the mother leaves for a few days and she is suddenly allowed to go anywhere at any time, funny how that works.

I won't even go into detail as it's trivial, the ideas in alluding to here I find in almost all the films praised today. The worst part really is that this all could've been a good 20 minutes, yet is was dragged out with exaggerated emotional pauses that were utter nonsense.

I could go on and on, but instead I wish to leave a message for the young and impressionable. Just because an individual of the same sex as you helps you realise potential you didn't see in yourself does make you suddenly gay. Just because all the manifestations of authority in your life have been negative thus far does not mean all authority is bad and that one must break free of it.

Do not identify with the object your light shines on, identify with the source of the light. Do not identify with a conceptual structure, identify with the part of you that is able to construct conceptual structures.

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