Armenian Film FestivalThe whole time I was watching the animated film, I wanted to vomit.
The Mermaid (Rusalka) preceded by Ligne de Vie
8 — 9:40 pm
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The Mermaid (Rusalka) by Anna Melikyan (Russia, 2008, 100 min). In this charming film, young Alisa takes a vow of silence to protest her mother's refusal to enroll her in ballet class. When her silence is mistaken for an intellectual disability, she is sent to a special-needs school in a rural town. With the help of another student, Alisa discovers she has the power to make wishes come true. When she turns 18 and moves to Moscow, she wonders if her extraordinary gift might also be a curse. Similar in style and tone to Amelie, Mermaid features digital deception to enhance fantastical elements. The original Russian title refers to the water spirit of Slavic myth, also referenced in Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. In Russian with English subtitles.
Preceded by Ligne de Vie by Serge Avedikian (France, 2003, 12 min.).
An animated film about the Holocaust.
"He told our story, gave it a face," reminded me of a news story Kita posted recently.
I would quibble with the description of The Mermaid (Rusalka) -- her mother has sex with that sailor who isn't Alisa's father, and Alisa interrupts them and yells, "Traitor! Go to hell!" I wouldn't swear that that's the last time she speaks, but I remember that after the house burns down the doctor says that she's experienced a trauma and it [her silence] will pass. (I would also quibble that she moves to Moscow with her family and turns 18 only after moving there -- albeit not long after.)
I'm impressed that her deep emotional connection to her absent father and then to Sasha are mirrored in ways that don't feel at all Freudian to me.
I love the implicit parallel of Sasha with his fish -- esp. that first time in his house when he says that she's saying his fish is depressed.
I like Alisa. I didn't particularly like Sasha (nor do I think we were particularly supposed to), but I understand her attraction to him. And the few tender moments ... ♥
I ... was not expecting that ending. It reminded me a lot of Once.
On reflection, I was annoyed that there are no repercussions to, for example, Rita's having smashed the fishtank.
The film started about 15 minutes after it was scheduled to, so the guy I was sitting next to (whom I would put in his 50s) was chatting me up. Afterward he asked, "Do you know somewhere to get a coffee?" and I said, "I really don't know this area," and he said, "I have my car..." and I thought, "Seriously? I'm young enough to be your daughter -- and by a fair amount, too." I just honestly said that I really didn't know where would be open (it was about 10:15) because everything in Boston closes so early. Earlier, he had asked if I would be back to see more of the films tomorrow (this film was part of the 3-day Armenian Film Festival) and I'd said no I had church commitments all day; this information clearly didn't stick 'cause later he was saying, "I think I will be sitting in this same seat for the 3:00 film tomorrow," and acting as if he would see me tomorrow, and I just made noncommittal noises.
When we were leaving the building, a woman (about his age) recognized him and started chatting and asked if I was his daughter and he said yes and that's the point at which I actually got skeeved out. (I have a long history of being hit on by random guys and my tolerance is really high.) But as we were approaching Museum Road I said I really should get home and head toward the T, and he was just like, "Okay, I will see you tomorrow," which I was grateful for, since I was totally expecting him to offer to drive me home.
The busker at Park Street played "Walkin' in Memphis" and a song I didn't know (though the clutch of Sudbury high schoolers waiting on the platform with me did) and "Brown-Eyed Girl," which was nice -- though his voice was fairly quiet, so the songs didn't have quite the energy I would have liked ideally (yes, I'm spoiled -- I was introduced to "Walkin' in Memphis" via Smith a cappella).