My life without me (2003)

“My life without me” (2003)

IMDb

Kar Wai with a story

i’m really starting to get into the world Coixet seems to convey for her films, and i’m enjoying being there. This was only my second experience with her films (the other was ‘secret life…’).

She has a quality i deeply appreciate in a director, which is the ability to build a world and include me, as a spectator, in that world. And her world is quite personal, a bit depressive, but which invites to self reflexion. It has an interesting dialectic between being in itself dark, shadowed, populated with odd sad heavy characters, but conveying a somehow positive message, in the way it moves you.

The set up is built in a clear away: in the two films i got to watch, she anchors her stories in ‘what if…’ questions. What if you had 2 months to live? not an unusual set up, or beginning point, but we have an interesting version here. The question is immediately answered by the dying character. She writes that answer, defines topics. We even see the words being written in front of our eyes, on screen. This is symbolic. The question comes out of a treat of destiny: cancer. The answer is purely controlled by Polley’s character. So we have a fight between fate and the character’s power to control her remaining life. She controls the whole film, from the moment she knows she will die. She bends all the reality of her life to the vision she has of that reality without her. So, she “writes” her last days to live, and she writes the lives of those who are part of her world and those whom she allows to get into that world. So the world moves around one character, who also controls it. This is a very clever narrative.

Visually, the mood is based in camera work/movement and some clever editing (namely when we get to see a monologue which goes on even when we get the closed mouth of the character speaking) and photography. The way Coixet uses the hand held camera to get us close to the characters is very personal, and effective and i believe it is the visual strenght of the effectiveness of her films world. The photography follows the Kar Wai/Christopher Doyle tradition, more notably in the first third of the film. I don’t think this was a good choice. Kar Wai works films as empty containers in which we can place things, in a really sensitive and complex abstraction, in which we, as viewers, have to be the main intervenients. The visual quality of Kar Wai’s films is there to support us and hint us in our mental/emotional quest. Coixet feeds us with concrete information. She gives her lines to follow, she seeks reflection but through her own reflections (story) which we should follow. So we won’t be able to meditate visually the way we do with Kar Wai. In his films, the image we get is part of the container, the rest is up to us. Coixet fills her container with defined elements, but also cares about the “walls” of the container, even if they’re covered by the characters she shows. In ‘the secret life of words’ she departed from this emulation of Christopher Doyle, despite the cinematographer is the same (Larrieu). I suppose that had something to do with this.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb

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