Movie : For I am dead
Director : Patricia Delso Lucas
” …And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And make one little room everywhere…” John Donne, The Good Morrow
The movie operates in the form of an intimate conversation between the narrator and the audience. The title reveals a claim full of resignation. A belief nonetheless in the fact that the narrator is as good as dead.
He is surrounded by mendacious shadows pretending to be benevolent human beings.
The movie is about the problem of plenty. It is about an extravagant rich man (Oscar) belonging to the aristocracy in the eighteenth century. He experiences a mortifying epiphany as he discovers the profound yet fatal domain of love. In a moment he discovers the glaring emptiness in everything else around him. Jude (a young boy who worked for him) becomes the one and only truth for him, the holy grail he was after, all his life.
The theme of confinement has been projected through the appearance of the dark and isolated castle. The castle empowers Oscar with the profuse presence of gloom.
The narrator is imprisoned eternally in the abode of solitude without solace.
The movie dexterously comments on the age old oppression perpetrated by the powerful on the powerless.
Oscar is affected by a certain sickness of love. A potent force that creates and destroys simultaneously.
He addresses Jude as the devil. The one who would show him a mirror, take him through the repugnant alleys of his past and subsequently absolve him of his sins (by killing him).
The impeccable cinematography deserves a lot of credit. Specifically the use of light and the adroit juxtaposition of the luminous with the dark. The use of candles adds depth to the narrative. The presence of light is not too bright yet sharp enough to show Oscar the truth.
There are various references to dream sequences , his exploits of the past, the stern glances of his mother, a certain sort of dormant violence.
Oscar struggles to accept himself, identify with his choices and his desires.
Oscar suffers from the isolation experienced by opulence. The bleak outcome of possessing plenty.
The trope of the lonely rich exploiter has been well employed in the initial sequences. Oscar is thronged by the redundant curse of excess.
The performances of Al Nazemian as Oscar and Riggsby Lane as Jude must be appreciated. They add a certain kind of genuinity to their respective characters. They can be loved and hated in the same breath. They do so with minimum effort. The impact however is mammoth.
The movie suggests two kinds of death. The first being a symbolic one. The cumulative despair born out of countless sufferings and disappointments. The burden of which has killed Oscar a little every day, by the second. The second is a more direct reference to the transformation of man from a glowing , colorful, and smiling human being to a cold hard cadaver.
The movie oscillates around these two kinds of deaths.
The confessions of the narrator are fraught with a sense of melancholy. It is coming from a man who has successfully shattered the facade of opulence. He has discovered the hollow void existing within grandiloquence. He is experiencing a sterile kind of isolation. He believes he discovered love a little too late. He realizes how colorless the external colors truly were when he looks at Jude.
Unknowingly he had been taming a wild beast within him. A belligerent fool who thought he could conquer the world. Like king Ozymandias, Oscar seeks immortality with the assistance of power. Something that inevitably devoured the one who held the sword first. He looks at a distraught image in the mirror. An image of his that terrifies him the most in his final moments. Solitude and love plays a cruel trick with Oscar. He perishes with the gleeful memories of Jude. An agonizing disappearance triggered by a rare feeling of love, in its purest form.