Friday, June 01, 2007

a film that unfolds

I was completely enraptured by Nick Carbo's film poem, Mon Pere, a video of a hitchhiker interspersed with the story of his father, the swollen river, and the pilgrimage to a church in Spain in the hope of miracles.

[Stop reading if you don't want to spoil the film.]

The hitchhiker, a man with a backpack and gray hair, changes as the film goes along. You want to know where he is going, and who might stop to help him. The patience he has in waiting. How far has he come? Why has he stopped walking? And you wonder at first, is this Mon Pere?

Then the words narrate the story of his bedridden father who is dying, the water literally running from his body, in the way the river swollen from two days of rain runs. Then he speaks of the pilgrimage to a church across the mountains, where people pray for miracles and healing, where they wash their feet, a cleansing at the end of the journey and how his father would have liked this place, but how he too is on a spiritual journey.

Suddenly, at the end the hitchhiker changes. There was a constant juxtaposition of things there and things here, the illness to the river, the father's prostate to a pear, the father to the hitchhiker. Who will take the journey for Mon Pere? Why is the hitchhiker on this journey? Is he travelling for himself or for others?

The ending brings out a great deal of emotion, sometimes I think the narrator is the one going on the journey for the father, at others I feel a helplessness and distant voyeurism from the window from which the video is taken, that the narrator cannot take this journey with the hitchhiker, he can only stand and watch and wait.

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