This small, simple and compact movie is probably one of the best movies of 2022. The story of two old friends meeting in the mountains. Stay with Zoomji.
A Love Song, the first feature film of Max Walker-Silverman, who is also a writer, director and producer of the film, at first glance reminds The land of houses and showers (Nomadland) (Chloe Zhao, 2020). This similarity can be seen in some cases between the two films. A middle-aged white woman who lives alone in her caravan.
A woman who has chosen the road and travel as her main destination and continues to do so. A widow who could not forget the memory of her lost husband. But the similarities between these two films only end here. Although Zhao’s film was pro-dialogue and tried to combine documentary and fictional scenes and scenes with each other in a fluid and moving mezzanine, here we are dealing with a quiet film with little dialogue and only a story, most of the shots of which were filmed on a fixed tripod. A film with a minimal narrative, and with a minimal performance, which slowly moves towards the distant peak.
In the continuation of the text, the story of the film is revealed.
Here we are dealing with a quiet film with little dialogue and only a story, most of the shots of which were filmed on a fixed tripod. A film with a minimal narrative, and with a minimal performance, which slowly moves towards its destination.
love song can be divided into three completely separate scenes or sections from the perspective of the script. We call the first screen “Waiting”. Where we see Fay (played by Dale Dickey) waiting for someone to arrive. The one with whom he mistakes someone else’s leak every time. Someone who is so important that he can be neglected.
In this part, what is important is to show the passage of time, and this is done in the direction and editing, by repeating some actions: catching lobster, cooking, eating, playing music on the radio. The repetition that forms the form of this part of the film. Even the leaks that make Fay think that the person she is waiting for has arrived become a motif in the film. A passion that hits a closed door every time and Fay encounters another person against her expectations. Every time a door slams or a gray car looms in the distance, it’s someone else Fay faces.
On the other hand, the self-conscious expectation of Fei will never come to fruition. The expected person arrives just when Fay is sleeping in his boat and is not ready for his presence. This is where the second act begins: “Meeting”. Lito (played by Wes Studi) has come to see Faye with his dog. The meeting of two old friends. Maybe two old lovers. Two middle-aged people who have lost their spouses and are now struggling with their lives. The film reveals one of its main features right here: defamiliarization. This element can be seen in various parts of the film.
The fact that a middle-aged woman lives alone in a caravan and has not settled down to a normal capitalist life, that the film tells the story of a forgotten and old love story between two middle-aged people, that the film was made on such a low budget and with a limited budget – and this can even be seen from the quality The image of the film as well as the frames and the camera lens were also noticed – and the fact that famous actors were not chosen for the film is all in line with the same defamiliarization. The film consciously and in all dimensions separates itself from the common and conventional path and declares independence. This separation can be seen even in the minimalist narrative.
One of the main characteristics of the film is the “defamiliarization” element. This element can be seen in various parts of the film
The third act can be called “journey”. Fay, who was sitting throughout the movie – either waiting or visiting Wes – now gets up and hits the heart of the mountain and waist. After Wes leaves, it’s now Faye who gets up. That is when his car does not have an engine to move. So, he himself goes towards the peak of the mountain that stands in the distance.
Going to that point seems to awaken something in him. The moments when he lies on the top of the mountain and under the shadow of the clouds at night reveal something that he must return and share with others. It is like a prophet who received something on the mountain and now he has to return and inform others about that inspiration. That’s why Faye goes to one of those black women to encourage her to do something she hasn’t done yet, and in Faye’s opinion, she should do it as soon as possible. It seems that the journey in the horizons has finally led to the journey in the soul and has transformed the soul. It seems that he has reconciled with himself. He sees his picture, which he had declared unnecessary, smiles and places it on the armchair so that he can look at it whenever he wants. These two widowed lovers finally realize more than ever that they have to deal with the memory of their lost lover alone.
In some aspects, the film is similar to Jim Jarmusch’s earlier films. The minimalist atmosphere of the film, in the script and direction, as well as the comic tone that occurs in some moments of the film are the reasons for this similarity. Things that in the early films of Jarmush, such as Stranger than heaven, Defeated by the law, The mysterious train Or night on earth They were clearly visible. In this film, it can be said that the main responsibility of the film’s comic burden rests with the group of five cowboys. Shy men, or maybe too polite or awkward, who have a little girl by their side as a spokesperson and even a driver. Somewhere in the film, during the group’s second meeting with Fay, when the discussion of moving the car’s engine comes up, the recurring mise en scene of taking the engine and bringing the boat creates one of the most enduring comic moments in the film.
The film itself does exactly what Fay sets out to do: it slowly moves towards the distant peak and, like Fay, succeeds in achieving the goal.
From the point of view of romance, however, it can be said that the film is not devoid of clichéd images or moments. For example, somewhere in the first third of the film, Faye is lying on her bed. He rolls over and puts his hand on the armrest – which is naturally empty. A very used image to show the empty place of the spouse or partner of the person I am seeing now and could not cope with this loss. Elsewhere in the second act, when Lito comes and these two people are talking to each other by the beach, we are faced with a dialogue that is not very innovative. Two old lovers saying to each other “You tried to kiss me” while reminiscing is not something that has not occurred to anyone before.
The simple classical principles have been strictly observed in the script writing of the film. Apart from the mentioned three-act film, the main elements of the film are repeated three times each. Fay faces the cowherd band three times. Three times with the postman and three times with the black couple. Meetings that – in all three cases – the first time with failure (such as the postman not having a letter for Camp 7), the second time with good news (such as the possibility of a black couple getting married) and the third time with achievement (such as taking a motorcycle and hitting in the middle of the road) end.
However, love song It is a movie that can be safely included among the best of the year. A very simple and very lovely movie. The film itself does exactly what Fay sets out to do: it slowly moves towards the top. Both people succeed in achieving their goal. The distant peak in the film and the wait that Fay waits to arrive and see Lito reminds me of a verse by Hossein Al-Mazavi: “Tell me what you have to do with yourself, that your visit/ The foggy peaks are faded and dreamlike.”