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Mother Nature: Ramón Salazar’s La Enfermedad del Domingo (2018)  

Enfermedad del Domingo

“All of the issues we should always’ve stated that I by no means stated/
All of the issues we should always’ve accomplished that we by no means did/
All of the issues we should always’ve given however I didn’t/
Oh, darling, make it go/
Make it go away.”

– Kate Bush, “This Lady’s Work.”

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Spanish filmmaker Ramón Salazar’s new function, La Enfermedad del Domingo (Sunday’s Sickness), is awash with geometry: a swarm of shining orange rhombuses illuminates a high-end restaurant, sloping mountain and slanted roof converge to type the purpose of a triangle, a lady’s jacket folds into pristine parallelity together with her scarf. Nearly each shot calls the attention’s consideration to strains and figures, to directionality and straightness and curvature, and, time and again, to symmetry, typically good, typically damaged. This devotion to line, contour, and form definitely serves the author/director’s painterly ambitions – the repetitious, to the purpose of obsessiveness, posing of characters inside quadrangular frames, together with the just about full absence of a musical rating, stimulate the sense because the movie unfolds that one is strolling by way of a hushed museum gallery. Plot and motion typically really feel secondary to the string of meticulous visible compositions organized (fairly explicitly) as a slideshow of reminiscences within the making. Geometry additionally, due to its ubiquity and unavoidability, turns into the visible code by means of which Salazar transmits cognitive and emotive details about the internal lives of his characters.

“There are two strains,” wrote the French poet Pierre Albert-Birot, “the curved line that belongs to God and the straight line that belongs to man.” This sentiment echoes the well-known, and clearly inaccurate, dictum by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí that there are not any straight strains or sharp corners in nature, and finds credence in current research by experimental psychologists, who’ve discovered that very younger youngsters instinctively understand circles (as in apples and flowers and mom’s nipples) positively and downward triangles (as in sharp rocks and thorns and bared fangs) negatively. An attentive viewer of La Enfermedad del Domingo will quickly turn into primed to acknowledge the importance of specific geometric patterns and, in flip, to seek for them within the cosmos of the movie. Squares and rectangles are exact, predictable, and chilly, conveying stability but in addition confinement. Circles and spheres are non-threatening however troublesome to understand, rolling about and away on the first alternative, introducing uncertainty to life, but in addition opening it as much as tenderness and love. The attentive viewer will discover the crooked strains of tree roots within the forest as they’re contrasted to the ornate columns of a wealthy man’s house, the aforementioned rhomboidal lamps that oversee a terse household dialog contrasted to the nice and cozy spherical bulbs that witness a reunion many years within the making. Ultimately the viewer will discover it inconceivable to not discover the quadrilateral openings of houses and automobiles, the unforgiving angles of stone steps, the hexagonal form of a picket coffin, or the round welcome to be discovered within the rim of a teacup, or the iris inside a dying beloved one’s eye, or the curvature of the street that leads one again house.

La Enfermedad del Domingo tells of two ladies, Anabel and Chiara, mom and daughter. Anabel (Susi Sánchez) is all straight strains, from the make-up on her face to her opulent-yet-tasteful outfits. She lives a glamorous life in a fairy-tale mansion filled with golden doorways and gleaming tables for entertaining, courtesy of her husband Bernabé (Miguel Ángel Solá), a businessman who wears completely tailor-made fits and completely straight hair, and who’s accustomed to deciding how issues should be dealt with. However Anabel’s life rests on a shameful secret: many years earlier than, she deserted her first husband Mathieu and their eight-year-old, Chiara. She simply walked out the door and by no means seemed again. In consequence, Chiara (Bárbara Lennie) has by no means discovered the straight path and has lived a shapeless life, all frump and bumps and bruises. “Does anybody find out about me?,” she asks Anabel when the 2 face one another for the primary time in thirty-five years. Her mom shakes her head. “It’s unusual. Virtually not present.”

“There’s in all probability nothing in human nature,” Adrienne Wealthy commented in her indispensable essay “Motherhood and Daughterhood,” “extra resonant with expenses than the move of power between two biologically alike our bodies, one in every of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the opposite, one in every of which has labored to offer start to the opposite. The supplies are right here for the deepest mutuality and probably the most painful estrangement.” So it’s with these two ladies. One thing has occurred, and forty-something Chiara has determined to irrupt into Anabel’s life with a request: that the 2 spend a while collectively, alone, within the secluded nation residence from which Anabel ran and which Chiara nonetheless occupies. “What if she refuses?,” a lawyer employed by Bernabé calls for of Chiara. “I hadn’t even thought-about it,” she solutions. “Why not?” Chiara steals a look at her mom. “Due to what we’re.”

Enfermedad del Domingo

What they’re is the first concern of the movie, although a few of the solutions come by means of telling quite than displaying. Firstly, as Salazar emphasizes again and again, they’re mirror pictures of one another. Typically he aggressively crosscuts from one lady to the opposite, as in a single lovely sequence during which Chiara bringing a cigarette to her lips turns into Annabel consuming her tea with the very same movement. “I see myself in her,” Anabel tells Bernabé when he asks why she would comply with go off alone with a digital stranger. Each ladies, it seems, are unbiased spirits, immune to the constraints positioned on them by males, although finally surrendering to them. Each discover it straightforward to lie, however usually are not so good at recognizing deception in others, and each might be imply and callous towards these closest to them, however may also present kindness in huge methods and small. The primary and final photographs of the movie mirror one another like mom and daughter. Each are of two timber standing. The opening picture facilities on the bases of the trunks within the midst of the forest, in order that the viewer can pay attention to their intertwined roots. The closing one appears as much as the crowns of timber flanking the home, which stands in for the ladies’s shared historical past.

Besides, in fact, that the symmetry can’t be full. A horrible deed was dedicated, of which Anabel was the perpetrator and Chiara the sufferer. Anabel, for all her faults, has presence and character and the dignity to acknowledge that her life is the results of her personal decisions. Chiara lacks that luxurious, and is aware of it, and therefore can’t see herself as something however the younger woman sitting by the window ready for mommy to return again. Her little cruelties towards that heartless mom, her small exhibits of energy as soon as the 2 have absconded from the world – “You wash the dishes!” – are finally pathetic, since each know that Anabel can win the match by merely strolling away once more. Anabel stays, at first, not out of obligation however out of curiosity. “What would you like?,” she calls for of Chiara, who delays responding so long as potential, not out of worry or disgrace however out of an inclination they share, as one character places it late within the movie, for “intrigue.”

Enfermedad del Domingo

Chiara’s agenda, which is Salazar’s agenda, is most emphatically to not punish Anabel for her sins nor to point out her the trail to ethical redemption. “I need to apologize to you,” says Anabel. Chiara cuts her off. “I don’t need you to.” The objective as an alternative is to prod Anabel away from the straight-lined world by which she has constructed her life, and again to the curved world of Chiara, the woods, and, Salazar implies, the deepest stirrings of her soul. Anabel all however admits this to Mathieu (Richard Bohringer, sporting the bushiest, curviest eyebrows you’ve ever seen), the person she deserted all these years earlier than. “I needed extra,” she tells him. “And did you discover extra?,” he asks, already understanding the reply. “I did. Nevertheless it’s by no means sufficient.”

It’s right here that the movie finds itself on shaky floor. Is there a touch of woman-can-only-be-happy-as-mother conservatism, or no less than cliché, at play? Of “I’ve been to paradise, however I’ve by no means been to me,” as Charlene put it in music? Having established that Anabel is just not the mothering sort – she gives her second daughter, a curly-haired, dog-loving sprite named Greta (Greta Fernández) born of her marriage to Bernabé, not more than cool detachment and barely disguised annoyance – Salazar appears intent on making motherhood the core, lengthy repressed, of her being. Proper across the time the fictional Anabel was going out for the proverbial pack of cigarettes, the feminist thinker Virginia Held warned that “dominant patterns of thought have seen ladies as primarily moms, and mothering because the efficiency of a primarily organic perform.” Consequently, society has seen ladies as “being nearer to nature than males” and “engaged in an exercise which isn’t particularly human.” This, or one thing near it, appears to be what Salazar has in thoughts for the climactic denouement of his story, besides he doesn’t acknowledge it as problematic.

Enfermedad del Domingo

The ultimate act of the movie is supposed to really feel primal and, sure, animalistic. Anabel agrees eventually to satisfy Chiara’s request, which the movie foreshadows, in a nod to Chekhov’s The Seagull, with, properly, a seagull. Salazar has Anabel and Chiara strip bare in the midst of the darkish wooden, the youthful lady clinging feebly to the older. “Mom! Mom!,” Chiara calls, utilizing the phrase for the primary time since we now have recognized her. “I perceive,” she whispers. “What?” “All the things.” The attentive viewer can’t assist however discover the curve of the slope the ladies use to enter the pond the place the deed will probably be carried out, nor the right circles shaped by the ripples within the water, nor the contours of shoulders in deliberate motion as one physique lowers the opposite under the floor, nor the form of the tear that adheres to a mom’s eye as she holds her daughter underneath.

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All photographs are screenshots from the movie’s trailer and pictures launched by the manufacturing firm for publicity functions.

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