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  • Austin Elston

A Guide to A Well Rounded Cinematic Education #1

Film - like all art - is a conversation. It's a conversation that the artists want to have with you. That's what is meant when people say, 'That filmmaker really had something to say'. But film isn't a one-sided conversation. It's not there to talk at you; it's there to talk with you. The films in this series are films that I believe want to talk with you and that you should talk too.

Morvern Callar - dir. Lynne Ramsay 2002

Why I like the film: Morvern is an incredible protagonist. I’m not sure if we’re suppose to like her, but I am sure that if we do or don’t doesn’t matter. She is a representation of that time in our lives when we don’t know what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. And that draws me back to her, and the film. As I get older, I see more of myself in her. I get to change, she stays the same, but her meaning shifts.

What to look for in this film: Repetitions. Lynne Ramsay is a master in repeating shots and motifs. In pop music, we recognize it and call it verse - chorus - verse. In cinema, it's just as important but seems less talked about. In Morvern Callar, there is very simple but effective repetition of doorways. We see them over and over again, yet their meaning shifts. I'd argue that you could watch only the scenes in which doors and doorways appear and have a pretty good understanding of what the film is about.

As of this posting, Morvern Callar is available on Amazon Prime.

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