Kalamazoo Film Society

April 25 - May 1
The Lunchbox
Directed by Ritesh Batra

Kalamazoo Film Society
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Kalamazoo Film Society
P.O. Box 51655
Kalamazoo, MI 49005-1655

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We are very interested in your opinions of this month's film.
Please e-mail them to us at kalfilmsociety@yahoo.com
and we will post them here for the whole world to see.

Comments on our March feature:

The Great Beauty:

 

Is the meaning of the film that underneath the squalor of our life there still is some beauty or that everything in life is just an illusion/ trick?
 
--  Avola

What was the trick? The disappearance of the giraffe, a rather spectacular and beautiful sight. The trick is that the giraffe is there all along, even when it appears to be missing.I had already decided that the principal themes of the movie are whether life (and art) should be analyzed or just experienced, and whether they should be approached actively or passively. And that Jep's movement in the film is away from the paradoxical combination of passive analysis to the equally paradoxical one of active experience.
I was planning on waiting till my third viewing to try to parse the meaning of Jep's "it's just a trick." But you've made me stop and think about it.
Some have thought that the message of the movie is that Jep spent his life searching for the great beauty and never found it, not realizing that it was there all the time: life itself. If his revelation is indeed that the concealment of beauty was "just a trick," that would fit.
But it's also true that all of this is tied very closely to his memory of Elisa and how that loss has shaped his life, so I think this may be less than half of it.trick
  --  Emvan

Excellent movie. I think the scene at the end with his first love showcased his awesome trait that could also be a flaw, looking too hard for the 'great beauty' in life. His first time with his first love, he was hesitant and seemed to be trying to take it all in to make sure he saw the beauty in the moment. Whereas the Saint was simplistic, she saw the beauty in life in simplistic terms and moved onto the next moment. This I believe is evident with the birds, her assistant shushes Jep and explains the beauty of their migration and how their resting. Then the saint/sister walks out describing how she knows all of their names and then blows so they fly away showing that you don't need to overanalyze every beautiful moment as Jep seemed to be trying to do which was causing him to wait around forever and thus postpone him from writing his next novel. Just my opinion. Movie was absolutely beautiful, and I will definitely need to view multiple times to get the whole message!
  --  Deem

Really nice analysis of the contrast between Jep and Sister Maria.

Now, maybe Elisa is just a bit of an exhibitionist, but it seems more likely that she is already aware of Jep's love for aesthetic beauty, and is orchestrating his "first time" in a way that will be most meaningful to him. And perhaps she has seen deeper into Jep than Jep himself, so that Jep considers this the moment where aesthetic beauty, and the search for it, became the dominant theme in his life. At the very least, it is clearly a moment where it all came together for him, the moment where love, the meaning of life, and the great beauty become inextricably wound together.
Note that when Jep tries to tell this story to Ramona, he has so much difficulty telling Ramona what Elisa said to him that she gets up and leaves without hearing the end of the story. So "I want to show you something" is an incredibly powerful moment for him. And of course, once she leaves him, he spends the rest of his life looking for the great beauty.
There is another important bit that supports your ideas. Elisa at first seems to rebuff his kiss. Then she retreats away from the shore, up the path, and says, "I want to show you something." Then she bares herself to him (and Sorrentino smartly does not show us her breasts. We can guess that they were greatly beautiful, but it is left to our imaginations).

This has just occurred to me: "I want to show you something" makes Jep a passive party. So the simple reading of the film's message is that if you spend your life looking for the great beauty, you may miss all the small ones. But the deeper message may be that the search for beauty must be active and not passive, engaged and not separated. There is certainly a suggestion, in the way we see Jep approach art and life, that he wants the world to reveal its (great) beauty to him, because he keeps a distance and doesn't fully engage.
The next (third!) time I see the film, I want to double-check Jep's reaction to the flamingos, and especially their leaving. IIRC, he is quite struck by it. That would absolutely support your idea. This may be a turning point for him, in understanding the nature of the search for beauty.

To combine our ideas, Jep's approach to beauty had been overly analytical, and passive. "Show me something beautiful, and let me figure it out." What he learns is that you help create beauty with your interaction with the world, and you simply experience it.

And this leads us back to Elisa: because she left him, and he wanted so badly to figure that out, that reinforced his overly analytical attitude towards beauty.
  --  Emvan

This was the best film I've ever seen.
I don’t mean to come off arrogant with such a title, as who really cares what ‘one’ person thinks of any given movie. But after reviewing over 5,000 films, I am not one to casually declare such lofty praise to every great recent film I’ve seen. In fact, I’ve maintained with steadfast conviction that The Godfather would always be my favorite film, and that had not changed over the span of reviewing my first film, until now.
What’s more, the first 30-40 minutes of this film had me thinking it was one of the worst films I would see. And the movie didn’t really change course after that, but rather, the claws that it slowly and continually sunk into my psyche would change my perception of what I was fortunate enough to be experiencing.

I won’t go on and on about every scene, or any scene for that matter. I’ll just say that I never thought one film could be so insightful and so successfully capture the human condition. It so perceptively articulated the mindset of human beings and their longings, insecurities, boredoms, regrets, sentimentalities, curiosities, disappointments, jealousies, aspirations, and just about every other intense thought and emotions of our daily lives.

The mood and atmosphere of the movie was very artistic and beyond eloquent. Furthermore, I thought this film was visually stunning and the score was equally ‘beautiful’.

 
--  JustOP


 

I'd really like to know how others interpreted one of, probably, the most ambiguous scene in the film:
Camera moves forward (P.O.V. style) towards a kind of conical building/monument (possibly religious) and a woman comes towards it and asks "Have you seen my daughter, Francesca ?".

After we hear a voice denying seeing her, the camera moves closer and watches as the woman goes around in circles around the conical structure, and Jep appears from the left (inside the building).

Jep looks down, through a kind of round barred closure, and sees the girl. Then she asks Jep something along those lines of "Who do you think you are ?" and as he is begins to respond she interrupts him with a "Ÿou're nobody".

Jep walk away and in the next shot the mother. after doing like 10 laps around the monument, looks down and sees the girl and asks what she is doing there.

I'd really like to hear what you guys make of this scene. I personally can't put my finger on it, nor stop thinking about it.
  --  Stephan

The building is the Tempietto (that would be somthing like "small temple" in St Peter in Montorio by Bramante: it's located on the Gianicolo hill.
  --  Lulli

It's good when a film makes you think and you a not quite sure about what something means. It can have various meanings I'm sure. The director would most likely have had an idea in mind but it's interesting how sometimes the idea they want to convey and what people actually get can be such different things...
Here are my interpretations:

Children are renowned for being honest. So the child is the only person that really tells him the truth. That sees through the facade. That he is no one.

The child is in a basement, somewhere deep. Maybe representing his conscience?

Maybe representing truth which has been and usually not shown in plain daylight?

Maybe the child represents purity and innocence which is relegated to prison in Rome, that got lost. Or maybe it's representing the innocence and purity of Jep's life, which got lost....
  --  Prandini

This movie was a steaming turd.
I can't believe it won an Oscar, it just baffles the mind. It leaves me with almost no faith/trust in the academy. As if I needed further confirmation after Gravity got so many wins, which was an epic bore. It's obviously just some sort of political nepotism with insiders deciding who wins based on favors. The Broken Circle Breakdown was a much better movie than this.
  --  Franklin

What a stranger could not understand.
Please don't take this as the movie review, is more a comment of what is untold but suggested in this movie, and be patient with my self taught English.

What you dear Stranger,could not understand, from this film, is us,Italians, this movie is talking about us.

Like few.

Reading the comments, make me smile, remind me the long talk i've sometimes, with an american friend that live here since 1995, he learned to talk italian, he learned that one could not put ketchup on pasta, or that a cappuccino is only for breakfast, in 19 years he got married with a nice girl, but he never truly understand us, too pure,for this place, as i always say to him, he never catched our twisted mentality,the 2 face of Janus rules us, the untold,the implied, that is so common here, the eternal conflict, here between beauty and disgusting,between the reach of the sky and the fall in the abyss, is not decadence, the decadence could be sweet , we already know that, and from that could born reinassance, not from the suicidal tendencies we have, from the 80's.

Maybe couldn't be done, could not be explained in full, the film try, for an Italian this film, is like receive a spit in face, watching our high, our past, what we were capable to reach, what we have done, and our incapacity to mantain it,our humbug gived to us in a manner we could understand for true, the funeral scene is more true, than you could never understand, the things you, dear stranger, see as vague, or unstuck are not, are photography, reminder, for us, of things we won't see, of things we have done, permitted, we are all accomplices in all that, but we don't want to see.

Is not the Fellini, that expose our misery, and joke with our deep, dreamy nature, remembering us that maybe not all is lost.

this film is seeing Pompei fall apart, as no one have done the basic maintenance, and two days later , no television news talk about this, there's the mode to talk about.

this movie is a scream whispered;

"save us from ourselves".
  --  Andrea

 

 

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