Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Si le vent te fait peur

A rare beauty that explores romantic and sexual tension between two beings without being sensual, a feat difficult to achieve (Rohmer has done that in an attempt to banalize desire; Emile Degelin does it here in a better way, by using an interpretation of love wider than mere desire), Si le vent te fait peur (English title: If the Wind Frightens You) is on apparent looking a story of incest, or rather one of incestuous thoughts. However, on getting lost in the story, you find you are confronted with Adam and Eve. Not the Adam and Eve. Because the beautiful Elisabeth Dulac and the modern, a bit intellectual Guy Lesire only represent Adam and Eve for being alone not in a world, but in a civilization: this is a land where they cannot desire each other, where every thought is marked by a fear of condemnation, and more importantly the fear of what will happen to their love in the fallout. It is that that they fear, more than the condemnation, they who know each other so well, whose love for each other is so pure, who are the first born, the first couple, since the other lovers will only later, suddenly emerge from the waves, nymph-like. But they have always known each other and loved each other’s company, and yet they are not to love each other.

Degelin has selected and used the Belgian coastal landscape wonderfully: it is as if the land has given birth to this story, these monstrous two human beings, monstrous in their capability of laughing, of cocking a snook at others, of daring to think of love each other, and it is as if in these shimmering sands, they are the only two living, the only two loving. The two who think what will the other’s lot be when they will be condemned, not that they will be condemned, the two together alone in this vast world of sun and youth. There are others who will make occasional appearances: the thief, the lover, the debonair, and the two sisters. But they all seem dead, they have forgotten what loving is, what desiring is: they are too ready with their tongues and yet laughter has forsaken them, and only little intrigues and desires to be quenched in a moment engulf them. It is apt that it is the debonair with his mock-play of love who rouses the slumbering passion in Dulac for her brother: confronted with the lover from outside who could have been equal to his brother, she prefers the known rather than the unknown who will vanish like the wind.

This is not a story that talks of the tortures of desire, like most literature or film does; rather, love here is companionship, mental and physical, love here is ease, and love here is fidelity that will be everlasting. Fidelity to self, for the other is the complementary self of myself here. It goes beyond what Melville's Les enfants terribles could. The cinematography is beautiful, and unlike a Polanski or most modern directors, instead of a continuous building up of tension, here we have a more natural flow with spurts and ebbs throughout, a film closer to life and the story it tells. Most importantly, both Dulac and Lesire, the former in particular, have been wonderfully captured, and the film is like an ode to their beauty, something which is fitting to the story the film tells. As if it is but natural that both should fall in love with one another, slowly but inexorably.

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