Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ponette. (1996) Jacques Doillon

The eyes of a child, what they see and choose to see is fascinating. Sea shells are diamonds, firetrucks and fireflies are flickering stars. Children are built with sheer imagination, inherent imagination, much larger than the knowledge they possess because they've had so little time in Reality. They haven't yet had the chance to find out how the world really works, which keeps them innocent, unafraid to probe, always seeking knowledge but not necessarily agreeing when logic is presented.

The grandiose dreams of children are loftier than the imagination of an adult - our experience holds an adult mind back. And yet when it comes to mystery, specifically the mystery of the heavens - or of God and mankind and how Creation is supposed to work, the mystery of what's out there that we can't see or even what happens to a soul after a last breath - the adults pretend to understand when explaining it to a child. We explain a meaning of life that we aren't able to come to terms with ourselves.

A child might believe whatever an adult tells them, and between this and the daily encounters with other selfish kids, hurt is formed, children grow into adults, and an adult child imagines less but has an even lesser appreciation for the wonder of the heavens - the mystery.

Ponette is a film that not only captures this tension perfectly, but uses the language of children to show the absurd views that adults try to share, sometimes indoctrinating the minds of the kids without a clue of their own ineptitude.

It's also a beautiful, lovely film of children themselves, trying to grapple with a time of crisis, and it might have one of the greatest performances ever caught on film - a performance from a four year-old little girl.

There really is no other film quite like Ponette. From a gentle little girl that tries to understand the death of her mom, to her friends that try to console her, to other kids that sometimes blame her for mom's death, to her tear-stained eyes that constantly pray to God and mommy at night: If Jesus can come back from the dead, why can't my mommy?

Such a simple question from the mind of a child. It is one of many simple questions that turns upside down, completely flipping into the profound. This is a film that will keep you in thought for a long, long time. The film is somewhat about a miracle, but in many ways the performances here are nothing short of miraculous on their own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like to respond to comments. If you keep it relatively clean and respectful, and use your name or any name outside of "Anonymous," I will be much more apt to respond. Spam or stupidity is mine to delete at will. Thanks.