Saturday, 16 January 2010


Accidentally apt in a recent trickle of films on this bleak theme. I promise to stop talking about Hell soon, and stop branding any glimmer of dystopia as yet another burning layer of sheol..

Here as Jordan Scott arrives in the cliquey world of film, heir to the Scott reputation, she is unreasonably savaged (see Time Out) for a film that I found subtle and rewarding. Offering a striking parallel to her Spanish aristocrat protagonist who likewise arrives to be unduly abused on account of supposed favouritism.

The film addresses the popular narrative device of an isolated, self-contained reality, a boarding school on an island, which might offer a control test for the human condition but invariably catalyses vice by reducing the feedback delay of the consequences of unrestrained Desire and by stagnating the pool, closing it's gift economy to inlets of possible forgiveness. As a construction in common with psychological space drama, crime on an orient express, horror in a snow bound cabin, what accounts for our fascination by which this vehicle has become a cliché? I want, at a leap, to suggest from this theme that our suburban castles (the source and the fruit of our fascination with isolation I would argue) might be more socially porous and by that derive quite reasonable, if self-serving, impetus for a hospitality imperative?

The recurring notion of homesickness in Cracks also bears some meditation, it is supposed to be something we grow out of, and yet at what cost given the damaging ways it is grown out of here? Miss G collapses any sense of objective home and allows myth, fiction and the memoirs of others to write over her own pain and by them vicariously to imagine herself elsewhere, as the product of another, happier story. Di, whose pained sense of her inevitable and indefinite homelessness leaves her to derive Homeness and its security from unstable sources. It is Fiamma whose memory of home is sufficiently fresh, and most persistently anticipated to allow her the confidence to share her stuff, and it is she who in death the Bri would christen the Christ figure of this piece.

The film luxuriates in a wealth of photography, an edit that some might find too slow. There is a sense of inevitability or at least unsurprise at this little princess drawing to a Lord of the Flies conclusion. There are some powerful moments in its character study although the evolution of the characters leapt over explanation rendering Miss G's later madness less satisfying. In all, rewarding but not unmissable.

1 comment:

nicholaskramer said...

thanks phil. I too will read on.