|claire of the moon
|Written and Directed by: Nicole Conn
Not so much a hallmark moment as a bump in the road towards good
lesbian cinema, Claire of the Moon is one hour
and forty seven minutes of pure hell.
Trite, poorly written, bad acting... all these things can be
forgiven. It was a low budget film, dealing in subject matter
that was highly controversial at the time. It should have been
an important step forward in the history of lesbian cinema. Unfortunately
Claire of the Moon commits the ultimate of all
cinema sins. It's BORING.
Mind-numbingly so. And it isn't because this film deals with
literary subjects, because watching Neil LaBute's Possession
reveals that the literary can be sexy, subversive and interesting.
There is such a thing as taking intellectualism too far, and this
film crosses that line so many times that all traces of emotionalism
are inexplicably wiped from the story. What's left is a discussion
of sex and intimacy that is about as titallating as brushing your
Two couldn't-possibly-be-more-different women meet at a writers
retreat meant to stimulate academic discussion about relationships,
intimacy, homosexuality and communication within couples. The
two women clash, each abhorrent of the other's lifestyle. Through
a bizarrely clinical process they fall in love, and work their
way down an emotional spiral until the glorious and blessed end.
The characters lack depth, and with a screenplay that boils everything
down to some kind of intellectual reasoning, they lack compassion
and warmth as well.
Coupled with the bad writing and acting is the inadequate direction.
Someone really needs to inform this director that setting a camera
up on a beach does not necessarily mean that we'll just sit there
and enjoy the scenery. There has to be reason and purpose behind
each shot. The meaning needs to be inherent in picture as well
as in words. You can spout on as long as you like about love and
romance but if the images and mood of the piece don't reflect
your themes what you have is a bunch of actors wandering around
with a script desperately searching for cohesion.
Subject matter as important as lesbian relationships and human
communication deserves better treatment than this. Claire
of the Moon got its audience back in 1992 purely because
it was a lesbian film and lesbians were so starved of images of
themselves on screen that they were pretty much willing to watch
anything. Now, with so many more important and relevant films
out there, this film has been relegated to the annals of time
and lesbian history. Hopefully it will stay there.
PS: If you disagree with me, and many women
do I'm sure, Claire of the Moon is now available
as a two-disc DVD set with lots of extra features so you can spend
even more time with these women. God help us.
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