Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Binary In Dread

By rejecting or wilfully ignoring the reality of something do you lend that thing a powerful, antimatter reality? Where would such a reality be welcome? Maybe a place like the house depicted in 2004's Saint Ange (a.k.a. House of Voices), an attractively shot haunted house film with a fascinatingly subtle and layered story that seems to have been sadly lost on impatient and jaded audiences.

Virginie Ledoyen plays Anna, a young woman who has accepted a housekeeping position at a boarding school while the children and staff have vacated the place during the holidays. The enormous house for most of the film is occupied by only by Anna, the older housekeeper and cook, Helenka (Dorina Lazar), and the only remaining orphan, now a young woman, named Judith (Lou Doillon).

I found myself thinking, she looks a lot like Jane Birkin, almost an instant before I read Doillon is Birkin's daughter. Judith is mentally disturbed in some unspecified way and she exhibits petulant, childlike behaviour and speaks quite casually of the "scary children" whom one of the departing young girls mentioned to Anna at the beginning of the film.

Like the ghosts in Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, manifestations of the children seem to occur whenever the point of view character, generally Anna, is near a mirror.

While Helenka and the headmistress, Francard (Catriona MacColl), seem intent on denying the existence of the scary children, Anna is busy denying the existence of her own pregnancy, binding her bulging abdomen tightly every morning even after Helenka and Judith discover her secret.

We don't learn much directly about her pregnancy but a bad dream she has involving a mirror and some scars Helenka discovers on her back seem to suggest the pregnancy is the product of a gang rape at Anna's previous place of employment.

As Anna convinces Judith to stop taking her pills, the orphan woman seems to become the battlefield for a war between two perspectives, Anna's perspective and the old orphanage's staff's perspective. Whether either one is fighting for an objective truth is questionable but the movie seems like the slow convergence through conflict of two different kinds of hauntings.

Twitter Sonnet #715

Ice looping records crush the vinyl brains.
Mustard swallowed cobalt interference.
Reinstalled flames incinerate the reins.
The complex vacuum was granted clearance.
A sockless neck redressed the yarn wellspring.
Gelatinous bowls evade the metal.
Mixtures of hats evinced a whitened wing.
Pollen with eyeballs covet the petal.
Ice cream octopus institutes may rule.
Late March and middle June contract the shoe.
Unread, the wrapper fell from Candy's school.
A hat, a loop, and a tail make a む.
Unwelcome rapiers cross-hatch the loon.
A parachute seating plan is a boon.

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