Womb Benedek Fliegauf

Womb Benedek Fliegauf
7
Because of the dominant, and rigidly singular, male voice of film criticism, a movie like Womb (wherein a woman takes the DNA of her dead lover to clone him as her son) is doomed to negative reception no matter how intelligent or well made it might be. Womb is a discomforting and deliberately paced work that subdues its futuristic sci-fi element to mere peripheral discussion and the brief image of a child using a cell phone in what is contextually the past. Eva Green, who has a tendency to gravitate towards challenging, unflattering characters with erratic mental states, plays Rebecca, a woman living on her own in a rural seaside community. Carrying her dead lover as an infant, she's shunned by the locals, who feel her behaviour is morally abject. But she's indifferent to the criticism and lives her life contentedly with her son: an ideal representation of her ideal male lover. Inevitably, this situation, beyond being a very astute metaphor for the relationship between mother and son, implodes once her child, Thomas (Matt Smith), comes of age and starts having sexual relations with a local girl. Maternal jealousy and the passive romanticizing of a child are obviously taboo subjects. Any inkling that this sort of relationship might exist within the dynamic of a traditional nuclear family is repressed and ignored by all parties involved to limit and maintain our collective consciousness, no matter how eerily consistent the tenderness of the mother/son relationship mirrors an ideal heterosexual union in modern society. While Fliegauf doesn't pull any punches when it comes to pointing out that women raise sons as idealized versions of the men they desire, just as men look to replace their mothers with a similarly validating, subservient, flashy new version, he also doesn't exploit his subject. He maintains a languid pace filled with long shots of his characters walking along the beach and reacting to each other — watching each other — with little expository interjection. Womb is a work of slow building tension, working towards a realization or action to resolve the issue at hand. And since it doesn't pussyfoot around its subject or spruce things up with stylizations to help eschew the troublesome subject matter, it's sure to piss off virtually all men, ready to dismiss it as "bad" rather than acknowledge the icky feelings they were forced to endure throughout the runtime. This isn't a perfect work, not quite taking enough advantage of its set up, but it is a very clever, culturally relevant text that manages to use pacing as an element of anguish. No supplements are included with the DVD, which isn't surprising for a movie that appeals only to those not living under the veil of delusion and defensive self-sustainment. (Olive)