40: Family Stories
This week, Kathleen is reflecting on Family Stories and Gareth's Three Things are about provocative poet, a remembered elder, and what's missing in the news.
Kathleen Norris on FAMILY STORIES
Artists seek to connect with people where they are, and as we all experience family in some form it’s no surprise that so many film directors focus on the families that form us. Two recent popular movies exemplify the genre at its best: Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, with its vivid depiction of the edgy but loving relationship of a rebellious teenaged girl and her mother, and Lee Isaac Chun’s Minari, the story of a Korean-American boy growing up on a farm in Arkansas who learns to accept that his immigrant grandmother is not at all what he thinks a “normal” American grandmother should be. Both directors mine their own autobiography in order to provide the particulars that give their stories authenticity, but their artistry also allows us room to recognize ourselves. No matter what our circumstances, we all grow up learning how to live with parents, grandparents and siblings, and it’s through these relationships that we learn how to love and accept love in return.
Several films by the British director Terence Davies offer a realistic and yet poetically expressed narrative about a boy growing up in a working-class family in Liverpool in the years just after World War II. Distant Voices, Still Lives (above) and The Long Day Closes make us feel the pinch of poverty this family shares with its neighbors, but we also sense the warmth of the community, as people gather in pubs to gossip and sing popular songs. We fear for the boy, Bud, as he’s terrified by his father’s sudden rages, and delight in the unrestrained joy he finds in attending Hollywood musicals with his older sisters.
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