Thursday, July 22, 2010

His and Hers

I had heard many positive things about this film / documentary, but was unclear as to what it was about. What a gem it turned out to be!!
Directed by Ken Wardrop, it features numerous women, speaking openly and candidly about the men in their lives, be it fathers, sons, boyfriends, husbands... Not only is much revealed about the said men in each short expose, but much is revealed about the women / girls in question too.
What I loved about it was the fact that nothing was 'dressed-up' as it were...what you see is what you get, and in this respect, it was very natural, very real, and through their sincerity, we could relate to each of these women. And each, had their story to tell, all coming across as remarkable people. I think this was the fundamental point of the film, and certainly the sense that I got from it: Each person, no matter how young or old, rich or poor, has their story to tell. Each person is getting through life in the best way they know how, doing their best to enjoy relationships with family members, but also having to endure universal hardships, such as death, illness and old-age. Some of the most touching features, I found, were those by the old women, and how they must cope with being alone, weakness and their growing dependence on others, these women, who were always the 'caregivers'. One very effective shot showed an old woman sitting on a chair, slowly putting on her shoes, and the difficulty such a seemingly simple task presented. In light of that, I decided to give my grandmother a call.
While parts were certainly sad and very moving, other parts were hilarious: the frankness with which the women spoke was charming, and a testament to Wardrop. A little girl at the beginning describes Fathers' Day cards: "They're like Mother's Day cards, but they're for fathers".
We are really honored, as spectators to get a glimpse into the daily lives of these remarkable people. We are taken into their homes (kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms), and it is the 'ordinariness' yet loveliness of their homes, their space, that makes this so special. These are all 'normal' people, whom we can all relate in some way to.
The men described come across on the whole as a bit useless but yet lovable. The great Irish phrase, 'they'd break your hearts' covers it nicely with both its negative and positive connotations. One women describes her son's aspirations to be a guard when he grows up; "bank robber more like" she retorts, and then adds "I suppose at 5 they wouldn't really know what they want to be"! Another woman praises her husband's curries, but then admonishes his ability to wash up as he goes. What is obvious from all the stories, is the shared affection of these women for the respective others in their lives.
The women were from somewhere around the midlands I figured from the prevailing accents. One of them referred to Athlone, so the women must have been all situated around there.
The music was very sensitively composed and arranged appropriately to fit in with the tone of the scenes.
This is truly a great piece of documentary film-making, funny and touching in equal measure, and I urge anyone who has not yet seen it, to take a look.

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