Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've always been really bad at taking photos. I get too caught up in actually experiencing the moment to step back and want to preserve it. And as much as I like looking through photos which call to mind wonderful memories of a summer at dance camp, a house I used to live in, a pet I loved, a friend who moved away, a joke I shared with someone, there's also something captivating about looking at a stranger's photos. I do the thing at other people's houses where you look at their books (and music and movies) and judge them, but every now and then it's not half as attention-arresting as a candid photo. Oddly enough, photography exhibits intrigue me only to a certain point. No, there's a certain intimacy in photographs- personal memories that I think gets lost in most public photography.

This comes to mind, because I went to see Everlasting Moments last night. It's a wonderfully intimate film, anchored by an indelible performance by Maria Heiskanen, but I especially admire how well the film captures the alluring beauty of a photograph, equal parts affect and aesthetics. The movie is a sort of family history tale, of a family in Sweden at the turn of the century, of the father's love and drunken anger over work, infidelities hidden and assumed, the aspiriations of their children, but mostly about the mother and her discovery of a camera and what her forays into photography give her. The cinematography is lovely, spare, striking in its beautiful plainness, and the score is utterly effective, a fragile array of roughly-played strings and piano, as if Webern or Ligeti had arranged Hans Zimmer. Actually, if you know the O Albion movement from Thomas Adès's Arcadiana, it's similar to that.

I also really prefer the original title: Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moments. It really is her film, and these moments truly are hers, and the film respects that sort of intimacy and allows us to steal a peak at them. Broader themes impinge upon the story (the abusive husband, socialism, gender issues), but these scenes almost feel out of place when they threaten to tip the balance too much from the heart of the story, which is simply Maria's self-discoveries, small, quiet, but never insignificant.


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