Movie: Searching for Camelot : The Queen of Camelot
Director: Roger Paradiso
” History consists of a corpus of ascertained facts. The facts are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions and so on, like fish in the fishmonger’s slab. The historian collects them, takes them home, and cooks and serves them in whatever style appeals to him.”
Edward Hallett Carr, What Is History?
The queen of Camelot is a rather daring attempt at revealing the multiple domains that lay hidden behind incidents of historical significance.
Roger Paradiso impeccably blends mythology with history revealing perhaps a side to a person that lay hidden for people behind a perspective. It ascertains a kind of agency to a person who is cursed to be viewed from a specific lens.
Paradiso brings a character from lore (the queen of Camelot) and a historical figure (Jackie Kennedy) together. Only this time the audience is given an opportunity to know and eventually understand a person. The attempt is to break the ossified perceptions about duty, marriage, heroism and cowardice and make their stories more humane. Further, the movie also epitomizes strength and will power. Specifically the determination projected by an individual in a state of prolonged agony. No one could move her an inch. She refused to bat an eyelid.
The narrative pattern adopted by the movie is quite fascinating. It resembles the way thoughts were perceived according to the modernists. As Virginia Woolf once wrote : “…an incessant shower of innumerable atoms.”
The narration in its pauses and recollections allow enough room for genuine empathy to seep through. The tone sounds genial with information and sights that never seem to burden the viewer.
The narration adds a certain kind of profundity to the movie. It gyrates around the events that created a buzz back in the days. Events of historical significance. Events that covered the front page of every newspaper. Also, events under which other occurrences were pushed to the shadows. Somewhat like unheard tunes. Tunes that were born out of a sense of longing and perhaps agony. Tunes that eventually turned someone into a rock solid human being. Tunes that instilled perseverance and determination in the person.
The thematic brilliance of the movie must be credited to the way the director uses the trope of memory, both individual and collective. It also hints at the unconscious trials undergone by human beings perpetually. Memory plays the role of the creator and destroyer in the movie. It ties the narrative together. It appears to reconfigure the various tangents of time. The idea of space has also been dexterously explored in the movie. The space assumed the role of representing specific points in time, through symphony and uproar, through anxiety and peace, through tumult and tranquility.
The parallels drawn to a specific story are ingenious making the viewer recognise the research work done. The similarities, the mysteries surrounding various decisions taken, the respective outcomes, takes one to a journey through the core of human consciousness, their tendencies, their inclinations and their shortcomings.
Searching for Camelot is a tale that must be heard in order to understand oneself better and recognise the various possibilities of triumph, disaster and everything in between.