a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Je Te Tiens

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Some thoughts on a film by Sergio Caballero, with Angela Molina, Virginia Rousse, and Sosaku Miyazaki as the Snowman.

I am riding down the road with that obscure object of desire*. The road goes through landscapes of lapidary tumult, trees snow-flocked to a fare-thee-well, anguished and twisted totems. The landscape – that which is outside the window – is constantly changing, become more frigid and alien. When she speaks she holds her hand over her mouth. She hides her anguish, as best she can, as she attempts to talk down her daughter’s dead-endedness. Where did this come from? The object of desire considers her all-consuming conflict – as any mother would – to save and to bear witness to her responsibility to a woman she brought into this cold world, lost in fear and having a desire to end her life.


Je te tiens,
Tu me tiens,
Par la barbichette
Le premier
De nous deux
Qui rira
Aura une tapette.

The tapette becomes a vraie gifle. No more children’s games. We are grown up, growing old, and serious now. And we are going nowhere. This only moment of physical violence in the film where a mother strikes her child, hinting at an unspoken history that may have created her daughter’s trauma in the first place.

The landscape changes and changes. Deeper and deeper into a colder and colder artificiality. From the rear window, things recede, yet are always coming forward. An endless loop that ultimately continues in stasis.

And what about the man who appears to be in control? Following far too close, looking out the hand-wiped porthole of his snow-encrusted joke of a car. Standing outside the big box terrarium, where nothing will survive, where a car with a mother and daughter go nowhere, their journey never resolved, physically or emotionally. Where art and artifice suffice to capture their traumas and fears for my voyeuristic pleasure. Where an artist/god/director/snowman controls the horizontal, if not the vertical, crafting an infernal machine to capture that perfect moment of devastating and weirdly thrilling emotion. The voyeur in me can’t help but say, “yes, I understand” and then turn away in shame.

Not even the sea brings release – which is where we end up, me and that obscure object of desire and her daughter. We may see it, surrounding our little universe, but it is always out of reach. It is only a projection. A projection of our mutual desires.

I have you
You have me
By the little goatee.
The first
Of us two
Who laughs
Gets a little slap!

Trailer – Je te tiens from Claudia Mallart Toupy on Vimeo.

Here is a link to Sousaku Miyazaki’s website – http://www.loloysosaku.com/. I am particularly fond of his painting machines.

*That obscure object of desire is Angela Molina, an actress that played a role shared with Carole Boquet as the object in Luis Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire. She has had a long and illustrious career in Spanish cinema.

Written by Nicholas Vroman

August 12, 2019 at 5:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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