At the Movies: La Demoiselle de San Francisco; the Not Exactly Unmerry Mourner, or, That Little Black Dress

So the picture in Sunday’s post, just below, was Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon — why not?  And this evening,capping another beautiful warm day, the IU Cinema screening was the tale of another young lady, this one newly moved with her parents to San Francisco and missing her old life, fearing the new.  But the difference here, and what makes the movie truly surreal, is much of the action is within her own head.  Thus the title, INSIDE OUT — or, quoting the program brochure:  “The power of emotions in establishing human connection during tough times is exemplified by Riley, a young adolescent whose family just moved from the Midwest to San Francisco.  Yet her emotions — Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness — are also thrown into chaos during the adjustment.”  And, one might add, the film is a cartoon.

What can one say?  Again from the brochure, “[t]he emotions, stored in the control center in Riley’s mind called the Headquarters, each with their own unique characteristics work through conflict to help Riley adjust to her new life.”  But what fun we, the audience, expect to have as they do so!   Except, of course, there’s a serious side too.  Joy has pretty much been the team leader and, as she tells us, 1InsideOut“Riley’s eleven now, what could happen?”  Fear, Disgust, even Anger in his way help protect Riley from harm.  But Sadness, the blue one,  is sort of the odd emotion out — because what good is sadness?  But then Joy and Sadness get separated from the Headquarters and, while Joy assumes she can make things right, there’s the problem of both of them making their way back while Riley’s personality, literally, crumbles around them.

So it’s a quest movie and on the journey Joy learns something too — that sadness is needed as part of growing up.  With sadness comes sympathizing, bonding, understanding — and minds are not nearly as simple as first thought.  But all is well, ultimately, and the team even gets a new, expanded control board including a new button labeled “Puberty.”  What is that, they wonder.  But, as Joy once more reassures all:  “Riley’s twelve now, what could happen?”

In fact, as the docent explained before the movie, the film was picked in part for its analogy to the new college student experience, leaving the comfortable world of high school to a larger, strange world, where it’s all too easy to get isolated.  To be prey to loneliness which, as the docent said, can be toxic — the loss of human connectedness to the various “islands of the mind.”

Well, the film explains that too.

Then for a bit of a change of mood, earlier Monday afternoon came, through the wonders of email, a brief discourse on Victorian mourning conventions* courtesy of DIRGE MAGAZINE.  But DIRGE continues — and, yes, this does involve commercial products, but interesting nonetheless — with several samples as well as a window to “The House Of Widow.”  Speaking of loneliness, but maybe not so much.  Not in this context.  So for a bit more than only that Little Black Dress, be pleased to peruse HOUSE OF WIDOW.COM, but by first pressing here.

*For more on Victorian mourning fashion, cf. below, October 21 2014.


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