Category Archives: Life and death
“Murió hoy, a los 93 años, en su México querido, la gran Chavela Vargas. Murió viviendo, que no es poco. La mayoría de nosotros vive muriendo. Desearle que descanse en paz se me antoja un insulto. No creo que tuviera ganas de descansar. Que se preparen allá arriba, esta noche sobre las nubes tocarán mariachis y correrá el tequila. Denle la mejor de las bienvenidas a la eternidad.”
Victor Ovies /(youtube)
La Nonna (The Grandmother), by Massimo Alì Mohammad
(short-film, Italy, 2008, english subtitles)
26 th Torino Film Festival (Special mention of the Jury)
Valdarno Cinema FEDIC 2009 (Best Short Film and Best Short Film for the Youth Jury)
In a big house whose furniture hides secrets, every morning, the solitary grandmother humors the small fixations of old age and rummages among the drawers and kitchen cupboards. Her days pass in solitude and each gesture can take all the time it needs; the old woman doesn’t overlook a crumb on the table or the leaves that have fallen onto the white altar in the family tomb in the cemetery. Her life passes tranquilly, with sporadic visits by her daughter and the occasional small resentment, until one morning her life is completely changed.
The story of ” La Nonna” (“The Grandmother”) came up during a wedding party.
The grandmother was sitting at a table and her disorientation was evident, she looked around unable to enter into a conversation and a huge and blank white wall hung over her, we took some snaps and decided to shoot a movie about her.
The grandmother has become a character, much inspired to the reality; silent, full of manias, capable even of spite, who wanders in a sort of solitary limbo in which the contact with the external world is difficult to perceive, or at the maximum is limited to painful interferences.
Describing this condition, the stylistic elements of horror, noir and science-fiction cinema spontaneously emerge from the reality texture, in the first place in a discrete manner, and later with a sudden explosion which is the opening of this limbo towards the eternal dimension of the memory and love.
My own view on the film
It’s quite a pleasant surprise that in such a short film so much can be expressed and so few words are said. NOT THAT here words are unnecessary, no. Loneliness is simply the main feeling and the main sound that comes out of this piece of work, a work of art in my point of view. And through this “Nonna” we have a lot left to think about. Population all over the world and in Europe above all is living longer, but not necessarily better and happier. This old lady I guess has somehow forgotten to maintain a conversation or even to start one. She simply seems to be no longer used to it. Some elderly people tend to talk to themselves or to mumble all the time, but she has lost it all. From the inside of her place comes no sound, no music. Not even the singing of a bird or the mew of a cat. A drop of water is a noise in the middle of such sepulchral silence and she can’t stand it. No wonder! Surprisingly she doesn’t bother with the tic tac of the hanging clock. Most probably because of her close, almost obsessive connection to her furniture and home things. This could be a sign of lack of love or / and of trying to get it and give it to her things, not only from the past, but also from the present ones. And for an old lady like her, she is still rather organized, clean, too methodical, and “takes care” of her home, as she does of her plastic bags, pills and cookies. Like most oldies, she hides everything and closes it up. It’s her own way of feeling safe, because fear is always around.
She’s somehow surrounded by memories and “ghosts” (that’s all she’s got) and apparently doesn’t seem to get easily frightened with “natural phenomena” like a storm or strong winds that seem to want to open her place’s windows. Losing sight, however, scares her, as she notices it while doing some crosswords. Noises outside, similar to door’s make her a bit apprehensive, too. And she loses control with the idea of being robbed, attacked in her own house… and panics. She’s afraid of dying, even if only in her nightmares. But fear is there, has come to stay and she has no hope, no reason to keep on…
Even the visit(s) of her daughter are hard to understand, although and unfortunately they suit the usual patterns of today’s life. Her visit is more like a “duty”, than a pleasure. It’s sort of a “doctor’s visit”, in a hurry, as if she was picking up a bag and delivering it. Apparently they had lost boundaries and could no longer get into a conversation. The old lady didn’t talk much, we know, but couldn’t the daughter at least try?! Mum lost the habit, ’cause… whom would she talk to? Hadn’t the daughter questioned even if just once that her mother should no longer live by herself?! (…) And one can see through the way ‘Nonna’ looked at her daughter while she was driving that she somehow understood why she left her “at the entrance of the cemetery”, ’cause the “poor thing” was always too busy (mums usually think so). One can also notice she loved her daughter, but that she felt at the same time rather disappointed and (as usual) unhappy. And absent.
Nonna’s visit to the cemetery was another of her rituals, although she seemed not to have been there for quite a while. Maybe because it was up to her daughter to decide when to drive her there.
She kept the dead as she did with all her other things: together and closed up in the family tomb. She hardly overlooks a thing so she takes with her the fallen leaves on the altar of the family, hiding them on the coat’s pocket. She even glanced around as if it was her last time, not without noticing a huge spider-web. Nevertheless one can feel her energy is almost gone.
And ‘Nonna’ looks absent again, whether because she was already living “in another dimension” or simply as self-defence. She showed this sort of absence again back at home, behaving as if her daughter was not there, building “paper-boats”, although I think this was intentionally meant, as it was her denial of having cookies for tea. She acted in a sort of revenge for being neglected and rejected and ate them all alone later on.
to be finished….. Rather sleepy!!!!!!!!!!!
… let the words of this wise young woman provide the strength needed the next time someone gets lost in the loneliness of doubt and regret that can so easily creep into our minds. A soul taken much too soon. #shareherwords #restinpeace Marina Keegan
“We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.”
“Death and Life”, Klimt
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