Ryan’s Daugther (1970)

We had this group work this last week, where we had to watch a film together and then discuss it. It was a little bit of a challenge for me because I usually prefer ruminating at least a day before expressing an opinion upon a film. The video was filmed afterward and I did not have the time for my thoughts to settle, this is why, after 5 days I came here to write a few phrases.

David Lean’s (not Lynch) film from 1970 is not my usual kind of film, and that was pretty predictable considering that my favorite film is Dogville. I am not all that romantic, although a fair dose of old-school romanticism might win me at times. I was in a pretty dark film “environment” when my group proposed this film. I accepted it, maybe it was time to put a space between me and Pasolini’s Salo and Lukas Moodysson’s film Lilya 4-ever, which still clouded my mind. Maybe a romantic story was exactly what I needed. I have to admit, it was. What I did not predict was that this film is definitely not a cosmeticized love story, not even close. It was a warm but still somehow sour lesson of forgiveness.

In a way, and I would have never thought of saying this, it resembled Dogville. I could find in the provincial Irish village the same common ferocity of the members, the thirst for committing an aggressive and unjustified act for some kind of sadistic rudimental pleasure, and of course, finding an excuse to make themselves the redeeming force. The difference was that in Ryan’s Daughter the church did not lose its purpose and the priest was not a sophistic Thomas Edison, but a man worth of the cloak he wore. So in Ryan’s Daughter, there was still hope and this was recomforting.

It was also a film about decisions, about young, reckless decisions and their consequences, but also about understanding. I couldn’t blame Rosie for wanting to marry Charles, but neither could I blame her for her affair with the English soldier. The fact that Charles did not punish her, proved that, even though I still consider his decision to marry her in the first place unjust, he was an honorable man. And if I initiated the characters topic, I must say that I even had a favorite character. Michael, the handicapped one, he might have been a projection of the whole crippled community. The acting was incredible and the character dynamised the whole narrative. He was such a hilarious and tragic presence at the same time.

As an ending, it seems that my few phrases became more than just a few, the visuals of the film were simply beautiful, and you know how I like visual films. I can even state that the images were more romantic, an array of impressionistic paintings, than the narrative.

 Video here: https://t.co/eQ7kfcy4m3 

Group members: Fengyu Zhai(Victoria), myself, Tian Zhang(Daisy), Shuwei Li(Sylvia)

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