Cinerama: Lantana

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama


By Mike Derderian

Last minute changes are part of life’s pre-set timetable that governs our lives. In other words destiny has its own way of directing us from the early hour of morn until we drop our fatigued heads to sleep at night.

Destiny the iron lady clad in the somber attire of cruelty and compassion always has it her way, now you might ask why I choose a female as the embodiment of destiny?

Well in old mythologies destiny was always embodied as a female, which is also a notable aspect found in poetry where the melancholic poet addresses her for compassion and ordinance to reunite with his love.

The notion of life being pre-ordained is somehow depressing for it means whatever we decide to do is only allowed when it is only written down in life’s agenda.

A few days ago I saw Russell Crowe’s 2003 “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” at the theatre which was quite an enjoyable film from every angle.

I left the theatre with a feeling of euphoria that usually lasts for a day or a week, an effect that depends on the quality of the film so at that day my topic for Rama was basically being cooked up.

As the sizzling fire of my brains kept on going, destiny had another thing in mind, (Screeching Trumpets are heard) for I was invited to attend the screening of film, that was part of the Australian film festival to be held in Amman in January the 23.

So between one Australian film and another, I ended up writing about the 2001 film entitled “Lantana” directed by Ray Lawrence, whom I was told made this film after a 21 year pause from the magic making industry.

It was ten past eight; I approached a brown curtain blocking the entrance. One side of the curtain was gradually open enough to allow a sneak peak at the cyan highlighted audience an effect created by the light transmitted from the screen.

My late arrival made me miss the opening of the film, so I had to rush to the nearest vacant chair. As I sat there, watching from behind a window, an experience I would literally describe as, “looking unto life imitating art through an actual window.”

That however did not stop me from enjoying the rest of the evening. As the plot begun to familiarize and after seeing Geoffrey Rush’s character, whom I really admire I realized that this was more than an ordinary Australian film.

In addition to Rush, Barbara Hershe, Anthony Lapaglia, Kerry Armstrong and Rachael Blake are the actors who were coupled in this film that discusses the problems that revolve within the sphere of marriage.

Infidelity, deception and sexuality; such social problems are the result of post-marital boredom resulting from the gradual shift from a passionate love at the beginning of a marriage to a routine orientated life.

Like a Lantana plant, a relationship between a man and a woman has its sweet scent not to mention the delicate thorns that one has to bear in a sacred relationship as fragile as the petals of that flower.

The excerpt before is my interpretation of what Lawrence probably wanted in choosing Lantana for a title of a film that tackles how individuals, who once were in love end up as complete strangers after living under the same roof.

One of the main issues dealt with in the film is the sexual relationship of married couples, problems like frigidity that strikes one of the couples or the inability to perform due to stress and fatigue that are realistic problems.

Since it will be screened in public I would like to note that parental advisory is recommended for this film due to the sexual scenes that where included only to express Lawrence’s point.

Ten couples, two separated, two in doubt whether they still love each other, in addition for two who are suffering from frigidity, and another two who are having a taboo relationship.

The only couple, who appear to have a perfect marriage, is the nurse and her unemployed husband, however, his being accused of a crime will unbalance that perfection into a more touching relationship of truth.

The cinematography of the film is smooth and the shift from one story to the other is done either by a gradual black out or a merger with a following scene, which is an aspect that interconnected the film as whole.

Ten individuals, who will meet through life’s complicated scheme, is what you’ll see in this film for they all eventually end up meeting each other one way or another.

The best scene in this film is when Celia Cruz’s sound is used as a background for the finale of the film. A smooth salsa romantic song unveils the end in a visual sequence that juxtapositions all those characters together.

Whether it was the director’s brilliance combined with the cast’s performances or the all-true plot it is a film worth watching, so don’t miss the chance.

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