Most of the foreign language films that I watched recently were, in some way or other, based on the theme of a dysfunctional family. Its not that this was the keyword for my searches on the internet that I got these films. Nor that my search engine was a little biased towards such films. Surfing or rather straying on the internet, reading blogs and going to the different links that one gets there may prove useful sometimes. This is how I got to know about and watched such films that includes Last Tango in Paris(Fr., 1972), Little Children(En., 2006), Ma mère(Fr., 2004) amongst others.
All these films were based upon human emotions arising from a dysfunctional family often leading to the evils of perversions, infidelity, adultery and even to incest. Watching the films left me thinking about all these issues. Paul (Marlon Brando, Last Tango...) mourns the suicide of his wife and strays into a senseless relationship with a young strange girl. Having grieved by his wife's infidelity and then by her death, he tries to give himself the pain. He wants to see his own death in front of his eyes and for that goes even to the limits of sexual perversions. He bangs into a strange girl and urges her to continue the strangeness. Maybe, after one failed marriage, his belief on a family system was over.
Pierre (Louis Garrel, Ma mère) also suffered the agony of a dysfunctional family. After the death of his father, he realises the bitterness of the relationship between his parents. Discovering a pile up of porn magazines from his father's wardrobe and knowing of the amoral character of his mother left him wandering. He then succumbs to the amoral promiscuous ways of his mother and ends up having a incestuous relationship.
Amongst the films that I have mentioned earlier, Little Children left me thinking the most. Four characters, having failed in life once or more, try to win it for themselves. Sarah (Kate Winslet) failed to his husband's perversions towards internet pornography. Brad (Patrick Wilson) had too many problems, the agony of being fed by his earning wife, the annoyance of failing the law exams twice, the irritation of not being able to continue his college-days legacy in sports and the frustration of not being successful at all in life. Larry (Noah Emmerich) lives with a guilt of killing a child unknowingly. Then you have Ronnie McGorvey (Jackie Earle Haley) who has to live with a lifelong curse of being a pervert. All the characters with their own share of problems tend to do something to prove their identity. Sarah choses to get closer to the 'prom king' (Brad) to prove herself in front of other ladies from the suburban neighborhood ultimately going to the limits of having an adulterous relationship with him and planning to flee away with him. Brad sees in this relationship an identity for himself that he lost to his earning wife. He wants to be recognised by the skateboarders en route to his law classes. Larry wants to do something for the children of the locality and in that sees Ronnie, the pedophile, a big social problem and launches a movement against him. The psychosexually ill Ronnie wants to improve himself but nobody allows him to do so. When he is ousted from a public swimming pool for his past deeds, he shouts that he just wanted to chill out, but the society doesn't let him to.
At the end, everybody gets the better of him/herself. Sarah, watching the Ronnie's grief of losing his mother, realises that the real happiness lies with her family. Brad, on way to Sarah, is recognised and given a chance to skate by the skateboarders, in the process getting injured and ending up at the hospital, realises the love of his wife. Larry, causing the death of Ronnie's mother, realises the guilt and helps Ronnie with his life. Ronnie, to prove himself, ultimatly castrates himself and in the process makes Sarah and Larry realise their own guilts.
The movie was about human emotions, hope and despair, the elements that make in themselves the whole idea of human civilisation. We wake up in the morning with a hope of making better the day ahead. As the day progresses, the despair of this hope not being fulfilled fills us. Then we hope again and despair follows. The emotions attached with these hopes and despair can take us to all bounds. We may succumb to them as the characters of these films or we can come out fighting with them and ultimately getting victorious. The cycle of this hope and despair continues in our life and often signifies the very idea of being a human being. The motivation for moving ahead comes from these despair and the courage to execute these motivations comes from these hopes.