Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October I went to the Viennale, a film festival (20th October to the 2nd November). I watched two films which were directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan who also had minor roles in both films. His most recent film ‘Manchester By the Sea’ opened the Viennale on Thursday 20th and could’ve been seen the next day at 13h as well.
On Friday, I watched `You Can Count On Me’ in the Metro Cinema. The film had 43 nominations, two of them were Oscar-nominations, and won 30 awards, among them the Golden Satellite Award for the best screenplay or the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
It’s about single mother Sammy who lives with her eight-year-old son in Scottsville and her younger brother Terry who comes back to that town. Terry only returns for the reason that he ran out of money, but he then decides to stay a bit longer, much to his sister’s delight. Sammy who’s going out with Bob, a man who later makes a proposal, starts an affair with her new boss, although his wife is six month pregnant.
The film seems so natural and real. The music fits in very well (there was also an Austrian song I think.) I liked the end, which was actually pretty predictable though.
‘Margaret’ was the other film. With 186 minutes it was a rather long film, but it wouldn’t have bothered me, if the seats in the cinema, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus, wouldn’t have been so uncomfortable. The room was beautiful, with its paintings on the walls, the zodiac signs on the ceiling and the six masks or faces besides the stage.
‘Margaret’ tells the story of a 17-year-old girl named Lisa and her mother, both struggling with life and especially the consequences of an accident that takes part rather at the beginning of the film. Lisa witnesses how a bus is running over a woman who then dies in her arms. The guilt of being also responsible for her death is taking over her. She wants the bus driver, who doesn’t seem too bothered by that accident, to pay for what he did.
The title of the film refers to the poem ‘Spring and Fall – to a young child’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins, which Lonergan said (in the discussion after the film) is only one of three poems he knows. In the poem there’s a girl mourning over the dying leaves. However, it’s not only that. It’s the confrontation with death and mortality.
Not everyone will like Lonergans works, but I really do. They show life, the different situations and feelings in a very realistic way. I hope I could motivate some of you to watch his films,
‘Filmmaking, like any other art, is a very profound means of human communication; beyond the professional pleasure of succeeding or the pain of failing, you do want your film to be seen, to communicate itself to other people.’ – Kenneth Lonergan