Bitter Moon (1992)

“Bitter Moon” (1992)

bitter moon



The beginning of my serious life as a film viewer was a special moment. Naive and probably not deliberate. The films i saw in those first years were marked on me as an permanent scar. They are special because in all of them i can relive the sensations i had when i first saw them. Sometimes, the ironies of my own life would end up strangely and appealingly mixed to the stories within the stories of the films. Some films, by Medem, Almodóvar, Wilder or even Turturro and this Polanski defined largely the rout of my dreams since i saw them. This last decade gave me a certain circle in my life, which is now definitely closed. And this film, about which i once wrote empty words re assumes an important role to me. That’s why i saw it again yesterday.

I re watched the film practically a week after Roman’s arrest. This aspect represents certainly the closing of a cycle for Polanski and it is not irrelevant that i have searched that initiated, in cinema, that cycle. To me as well, a new cycle in life begins and since the finishing one started with me watching this film, i seemed useful to make an exorcism of the upsetting changing moment i’m crossing out of this film.

What it seems to me is that, with Polanski, each new film is (or was) a personal struggle to extract the anxieties of his life in every specific moment. Each new tragedy, or each new event in his life, has a link to his new work which he produces, more or less perfect, but always in perfect alignment with what he is. Curiously, much has been said about how self biographical are his last 2 movies, but to me it seems like his true life is reflected, with subtlety, pureness and truthfulness in his older films. This one counts. It is in the initial stage of a period in his life i imagine to be happy. This film, with many elements that make it dense, has to do with Seigner, the than young Polanski’s wife. 4 characters, in a perfectly contained set, something i love, inter cut with a past story. 3 of those 4 characters are obsessed with the fourth one, our lover in time the film lasts. Of course there is a very specific sense of humor, probably inherited from Polanski’Polish ascendancy. That humor is reflected in the sex fantasy scenes, either completely ridiculous and funny or in a strange thin border between sex seriousness or fun Polanski induced irony. But humour is, as well, in the unbearable pieces of off voice narration that prove Oscar’s mediocrity as a writer. Anyway, at the centre of the story we have a femme, which resembles Sharon Tate, an exorcism for past tragedies, a recovering of old lives he lost, or left unfinished. Isn’t this much more self-biographical than films which depict dramatic themes he went through as well? Much more meaningful than “the pianist” or “Oliver Twist”. We’ll see what Polanski has to tell when this story is over now.

To me, life was very different when i first watched this. Anything was possible, everything was dreamt. I was Oscar, just arrived in Paris, to whom everything was as natural as dreaming, to whom the idealization of a life had a coincidence with its materialization, and passing from one to another would be a simple inevitable step. Now there is someone, and i would like to start my new phase drifting around her, with variety and imagination, like every frame Polanski imagines for his lover here. Every possibility, every scene. Dance, sex, pose. These two have certainly been happy. And that’s why, at least until a week ago, Polanski stopped to have to make films as an exorcism. Now he only has to talk about dramas, without feeling part of them anymore. It’s this Polanski, who films his wife because he loves her, that i care about. It’s this sensitivity, this ability to give us true beauty, the one which is born in the sincerity of deep feelings, lived by those who have the courage to do it.

In August 12th 2003 i wrote the comment that follows. Its naive freshness moves me now. I don’t want to erase it:

Deep and subject of analysis

I found this film extremely well done for several reasons I will nominate.

It debates some moral issues, how far is it acceptable for a society still full of consevative people, such as the one performed by Hugh Grant, to acept a relationship such as that of the main characters? It is totally at the border of normality (meaning normality not necessarily what’s good but what’s common). The film also touches strongly the theme of hipocrisie (probably wrong spelled, this word.) once more in the character of Hugh Grant who, despite showing all the time disgut and repugnace for the story he is being told, is always secretly desiring and wanting something equivalent to happen to him (this hipocratic attitude may be the result of growing up in a world and a society where this kind of sexual liberties and practices are repressed and in here once more we are taken to atrong moral issues which take us to rethink the whole thing…).

Apart from this questions this film makes me also think about the relationships between men and women… Is there an everlasting love? or at least an everlasting relationship?… Suddendly I recalled Schopenhauer who claimed that no man could be happy with only one woman… maybe this film is showing that he was right… the pace of the relationship between Mimi and the writer was so high that they just emptied all there possibilities very soon, but if we put that at the scale of a normal marriage, aren’t all the possibilities also tried at the end of 10 20 or 30 years? Can a marriage last happy for both till “death tears them apart” ?…

Besides this few topics of discussion (to which I could add some more if I just remembered them right now) I found this film very well directed with some beautiful scenes… also some strongs scenes that stay with us… Excelent performances for the three leading roles… Kristin Scott Thomas is also good in here but not so as in other films also because her somewhat small part in this one didn’t allow her to show more than she did. This film proves once more Roman Polansky as one of the greatest directors of our times, since he shows he is totally in control of every detail of direction (I enjoyed the increase of the speed together with the increase of intensity of the relationship among the couple). Good dialogues but specially excelent speeches of the writer whenever he becomes the narrator which is often… Also an excelent note for the soundtrack by Vangelis and other well known songs which appear along. A must see.

This old comment on IMDb

My opinion:  4/5


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