Top positive review
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Poignant study of personal and family decay
on 16 March 2003
A touching tale of a young man's attempts to understand the world around him through the hazed glasses of psychosis. Beginning and ending with images of an ice-skater, the film explores the juxtaposition between such beauty and freedom of form with the harsh reality of life.
Julien, the main character, suffers not only from schizophrenia, but also the brutality of life which has drawn deeply on his dysfuntional family. A harsh, severe father gives his children confused and ambiguous lessons on life, most beautifully countered by Julien's poem "Morning chaos, evening chaos, night chaos", which surmises his existence tersely.
In the face of this, the children draw strength from each other; Julien's pregnant sister pretends to be his dead mother over the telephone to comfort him. The pregnancy itself is shrouded in mystery, with undertones of an incestuous affair. Julien's claiming of the resultant stillborn child as his is, I feel, best taken as a metaphor for an unholy love, a product of their shared existence, and a statement of their future. In this way, it may be felt to echo David Lynch's 'Eraserhead', and indeed the main protagonists hurt by and for the world resonate deeply with each other.
A beautiful movie, a parable of the struggle and difficulty of life.