Youth I

film 2 of 4


Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

For all the elaborate fictionalizing and preconception (despite Mrs. Flaherty’s claims) this is in the end a home movie in the very best sense of the phrase, with an amateur shooting who and what he will for the love of it; idealizing, certainly, and I suppose typing, but these ideals show each character as beautiful and not heroic, not overcoming contrived obstacles (except the tattoo stuff, which does make one uncomfortable because it obviously hurts, and because none of the other men seem to have any) or striking poses, but simply people who live abundantly, who’s art and talents lie in the tasks that make up that abundant life; for this the water from the plants, the hunting of the boar and the spearing of the fish and the smoking of the crab and the making of the cloth and the preparation of the food and, yes, the tatooing become far more meaningful, even heroic than any pearl dive or shark wrestle, here is revealed supreme artistry in the very most ordinary things, which is why RF is so profound, and which is why most people, who seek only to escape instead of accepting the universal gift, will never get it; emblematic moment when Moana dives into that heartstopping water (this cinematography!) and swims out of frame, we wonder where he’s gone and what he’s doing, we’re frustrated about being denied narrative continuity, and then we notice the surface shimmer and subside, and we see clear to the bottom, and realize that RF’s not meandering or boring us, but showing that there’s beauty wherever you turn, so why spin around; of course this beauty’s long ago and far away, which brings us to his despair over modernity and the alienation inherent in it.