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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, January 04, 2016

entry arrow10:01 AM | Film Log 8: 45 Years

At the end of Andrew Haigh's quietly devastating 45 Years (2015) -- which stars Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in a couple of tour-de-force performances that say a lot in measured dialogue but even more so in muted action -- I am reminded that the film's ambiguous finish has a lot in common with John Huston's The Dead (1987), the late director's superb adaptation of the James Joyce classic short story (and also his last film), which starred Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. Both are virtual ghost stories, and their conflicts begin to spin once there is a revelation about an unknown or unspoken beloved, now dead, but also now suddenly stirring from the distant past. Both films center around a lavish party; one begins and the other ends with it, serving as slingshots to the eventual confrontation. And both come to end with an epiphany about long-married couples: after all those years, how well does one really know the one we profess to love? In Huston's film, the answer lies symbolically in the desolation of the wintry landscape outside Donal McCann's Gabriel Conroy's window. In Haigh's film, it is the ending of a dance set to the tune of The Platters' "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and Rampling's Kate Mercer is thrust to an uncomfortable truth that comes unbidden: the present is lovely, but we will never be loved so ardently by our beloved the way they had with their beautiful, long-gone dead. ★★★★

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