Monkey Reviews

Through the Eyes of A Chimp

Monkey Reviews
March 6, 2010

Everlasting_moments_(2008)

Everlasting Moments: Through the Eyes of a Chimp

It doesn’t surprise me that “Everlasting Moments”, a Swedish Film, was one of the 2009 Oscar Nominees for Best Foreign Film. The acting is excellent as is the writing and the cinematography. It is a sad story with much family and relational dysfunction and in the context of early 1900’s there’s the historical situation to contend with: labour disputes, political uprisings, poverty, alcoholism and socio-economic instability, and the first world war which looms ahead creating a swirl of domestic chaos and volatility. Quite the backdrop to a simple and heartening story about a women caught in a situation that keeps her creativity and generous heart imprisoned. It is a classic tale; one that has been told time after time. Ancient story-tellers; the Greeks, Shakespeare, all the way to the modern bards have been weaving this tale of romance gone wrong, where no escape seems possible.

But Maria Larsson is not completely doomed. Her way out is not what every viewer wishes for her – separation and divorce, but rather, she finds solace in a camera. Her gift of seeing gives her much needed reprieve but it isn’t the type of escape that becomes escapism. Rather, the moments she can steal away for her passionate hobby is one which connects her to a larger reality: nature, neighbourhood, historical and cultural events, her children and a true and faithful soul-friend she discovers as a result of this fascination she has with photography.

As I thought about the movie the day after, I was struck by the title: “Everlasting Moments”. What does it mean that her life which is so filled with suffering, often a suffering that seemed unnecessary, is framed by still shots that capture beauty and rest. Moments, in an otherwise banal and despairing life, that turn out to be everlasting and most likely, moments that she holds dear to her heart. Photography is very much that – capturing the moment that we would otherwise not see, for a variety of reasons. Moments that peer just behind the corner waiting to be discovered by the patient and contemplative eye, too often missed by the anxious eyes that furtively rush through life. Moments that speak into lives that often seem too much to handle. The camera didn’t solve her marriage problems by any means, nor did it make everything all right but it did give Maria glimpses into the truth that even when there is much sorrow, there is also much love and accompaniment, both externally and internally and sometimes that’s exactly what we need to carry on.

Everlasting Moments, like any good photograph, is a work of art and beauty. It is a movie that, while it is long, tells a story that doesn’t feel frivolous or long-winded but rather a story that spans the years of this blighted family with honesty and at times humour. Well worth the “plus-2” hours of viewing.