Experiencing mourning through cinematographic proposals
There are many ways to talk about the disappearance of a loved one and the journey that took place following this. If the deceased still lives in the livings, sometimes he even haunts them, those who remain fail to fully accept the passage into the Hereafter. In cinema, the traces left by the dead, wheter metaphorical or « physical », appear in various shapes. They question the importance of memory, remembrance, the difficulty of accepting and moving forward, thus marking the stages of mourning.
American film director David Lowery decided to stage a real draped ghost – as they are often depited in the collective imagination – in 2017 in A Ghost Story. The light shines on the one who died and disturb the interior of the living, trying in vain to communicate with them. The movie plays on the passage of time and the impossiblity of getting rid of a place where one have breathed, laughed, cried, loved.
Another way to depict it is the one chosen by Julie Bertuccelli in The tree. By personifying a huge fig tree where a family, which has suddendly lost the father, has settled by, the director questions how to get rid of the dead. All the facts and gestures of this tree which whispers in livings’ ears – and more particularly to one of the children who seem to have the most difficulty accepting loss – are interpreted as those of the father figure, between protection, greatness but also destruction.
Finally, Vincent Gallo in The Brown Bunny, released in 2003, delivers the silent and tormented experience of a man in search of his past love, without which he cannot move forward. In this film, where long shots oscillate between sound and silence, the hero seeks in every people he meets the woman who haunts him so much that one wonders if he himself has not turned into a ghost.
In those three feature films where memories themselves act as spectres of the past disturbing present and future, the characters seem to need to believe in what they see, in what they feel in order to be able to take the path towards resilience.