So, a cautionary note: If you haven’t yet seen Rapture and think you might like to, you may want to avoid reading further. This post contains some major spoilers. I so enjoyed discovering this film when I knew almost nothing about it, and I would hate to deprive anyone of that experience. If you’ve already seen the movie or you don’t care about that, go ahead and read on.
My blu-ray of the film arrived today!!! My poster arrived today, too. There was a bit of drama, actually, as I’d been tracking my packages and saw that both the blu-ray and the poster were supposed to be on a mail truck out for delivery. The mail came, and I saw the poster but not the blu-ray! Hopes dashed! The mail truck was parked across the street, though, and I saw the mailman take a package that looked about the right size out of the back of the truck. Sure enough, he crossed the street, walked up the steps, and deposited it in our mail slot. The blu-ray player was supposed to arrive yesterday, but I wasn’t here to sign for it. I stayed in all day today waiting for it (well, and working), and, finally, it arrived! It’s Rapture Christmas over here. Movie night tonight? I am so stupidly excited!
In the meantime, I have now read the liner notes on the blu-ray. I wish I could say that they were particularly enlightening. Alas, they’re not, and they put forward this idea (an idea I’ve seen around, so I guess it’s a popular interpretation) that Agnes really believes that Joseph is her scarecrow come to life. That’s not how I view the film at all. And here is where I will say once again–SPOILER ALERT: Agnes knows he’s real. She knows the scarecrow is her creation–she says so many times. It’s like a child with an imaginary friend. The child knows that the imaginary friend isn’t real in the sense that the friend isn’t a living person, but the friend is very “real” in another way. She’s been told she’s mad. She tells Joseph and Karen that she made Joseph, but she knows that she’s playing a part. She can want Joseph for herself, and why not? She’s been denied so much. She wants to claim him. He arrives at just the right time for her. But she knows. The last line in the film confirms this. She tells Joseph, “I always knew you were real. Always.” And this is part of the point. He’s the one who knew she wasn’t crazy and told her so. He’s the one who encouraged her to stop acting as if she were. It’s a very meaningful thing for her to say to him as he is lying there dying. To miss this, to me, is to really miss such a key part of the film.
The liner notes also don’t really offer much interesting information about the production. There is one tiny production still of the director instructing Stockwell and Gozzi that I would love to see larger, but that’s about it. How do I get someone to talk to me about the real story behind this movie? It seems terribly misunderstood, which I suppose is all too appropriate.
Last week I realized that Ennio Flaiano is credited with developing the screen treatment of Phyllis Hastings’s novel, which Stanley Mann then turned into the screenplay for the film. Ennio Flaiano was an Italian screenwriter who co-wrote many of Fellini’s best screenplays, including The White Sheik (1952), La Strada (1954), Nights of Cabiria (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960), and Juliet of the Spirits (1965). Flaiano was married to Rosetta Rota, the sister of Italian film composer and frequent Fellini collaborator Nino Rota. I can’t help wondering how this unique assortment of filmmakers (French, American, Swedish, Italian, British; from the worlds of Hollywood, Bergman, Fellini) got involved in this project. There’s a story here that I would love to dig up.
I’ve compared some of the different original cinema posters for the film, and the more I look at them, the more content I am with the one I purchased. The visual idea and blue color of one German poster I’ve seen around is nice, but the high-contrast treatment of the large image of Patricia Gozzi is a bit unflattering, and the German title–Irrwege der Leidenschaft (“Wrong Paths of Passion,” according to Google)–doesn’t fit my interpretation of the story. I do like the treatment of the other image on that poster, though. (Who wants to get me a $70 present–that’s including shipping–from German ebay? Sigh.) The most common English language posters for the film that I’ve seen are okay (one looks very similar design-wise to the Spanish language poster I purchased), but I’m not crazy about the typeface used for the title, and the tagline is just silly. The one pictured here is one of the nicer ones, though the image may not be an original poster since it doesn’t show any fold marks.
Of the three, the tagline on the Spanish language poster, while still perhaps not quite right, comes closest, I think, to fitting the film–though what it implies about the ending is perhaps unwelcome and possibly even a tad misleading. It reads: “la historia de una muchacha que descubre un mundo enteramente nuevo… pero no pudo enfrentarse a él” (the story of a girl who discovered a whole new world … but could not face it). I guess film poster taglines are the thing I cannot face. But seriously… I’m glad I saw the film before I read any of those taglines.