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February 1994


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James Michael Loter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 20 Feb 1994 21:00:26 -0600
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On Sun, 20 Feb 1994, Brian Wilson wrote:
> Correct me if I'm wrong James (in reference to the "Happy Ending") but while
>  the boat back home with her piano, didn't she purposely put her foot in the
> rope as an act of suicide.  I thought she wanted to end it.  I realize she
>  realized that she wanted to live after all, but only after she was back home
> with her new husband (forgive me for forgetting the names, but I saw the film
> when it first came out and I'm terrible with names).  Didn't she refer to
>  some great peace while she was underwater?  I think her happy ending would
> have been death.  I could be wrong, though.  I'll have to rent it to check.
exactly. "happy endings" and "satisfying endings" are different with the
former being suspect more times than not and the latter usually tragic. as i
mentioned (and louis schwartz extrapolated), the final scene recuperates the
previously strong-willed heroine in a heterosexual union and reveals that
she is learning to speak again, thus (in my opinion) it threatens to
undermine the allegorical force of the film which, as has been described,
constructs a figurative and musical alternative/other to typically
dialogue-driven mainstream film (again, l. schwartz's interp and a damn
good one).  i agree that the film would have been much stronger had it
ended tragically with her voluntary death in the silence of the underwater
space--Ada and her "voice" united in self-imposed, eternal silence; the
Other-world of the depths.
In the rapture ocean's
billowing roll,
in the fragrence waves'
ringing sound,
in the world breath's
wafting whole--
to drown, to sink--
   unconscious--highest joy!
        -*Tristan and Isolde*