To move on

Por: Daniel Céspedes Góngora

Stephanie Turner writes, directs and acts in Justine (2019), a feature film about the deterioration and possibility of personal recovery from sympathy or reciprocal influence. This is one of the most beautiful recent works of so-called indie cinema.

Films produced outside of major film studios or so-called independent cinema are classified as indie. The term generally refers to contemporary subculture which also includes music and other arts. Just because a cinematic work is indie is not a lack of quality. Which is done on less budget and ignoring many of the conventions of Class A cinema. Although not even the latter is what really characterizes films in that category anymore, but the recurrence of topics that the big industry decides to overlook, about topics and how to address them. Perhaps if Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2017) had been thought of in every aspect by an indie director, we would have seen better feature film. The idea, let’s put it, would be in the field of assumptions.

Independent cinema is risky, creative and critical, especially critical of the American dream or what the contemporary subject looks like from the northern nation. Several are the independent filmmakers who have since been taken over by the big studios: from Woody Allen to Steven Soderbergh. And between them two there is a very appreciable number of directors with such different films, that it would not be necessary to outline a list. It should also be remembered that the Sundance Film Festival exhibits and therefore promotes numerous films away from the main culture, which is known as mainstream.

One of the recent works that has caught the eye for its apparent simplicity is Justine (Stephanie Turner, 2019). The work, distributed by Netflix, enters into family ties and interpersonal relationships. Lisa Wade (Stephanie Turner), a young woman and mother of two, is on the search for proper work. She is demanding and, from the first few minutes of the plot, the viewer realizes that something terribly emotional happens to her. It is then verified that, in fact, little cares for her children and her husband is not at home. We seem to be witnessing these stories of sacrificed moms in that they will do everything to secure their own. But that’s not the case. This girl has collapsed her world because her police husband has died fulfilling her duties. She knows that he will not return, yet she wants to have the facts of his death clarified, as if it were going to make his life easier that he has suddenly decided to lead. He doesn’t care about children and it’s his father-in-law (Glynn Turman) who takes care of education and divertment outside of school.

It could be believed that such an account merits well-known actors. While they might be in Justine, the script elevates those who know how to act. It is here that one understands how the conflict of this film and the underlying themes do not allow us to separate from the seat. The conflict begins and continues with the appearance of Justine (Daisy Prescott), a disabled girl (she has spina bifida) who cannot walk. The Lisa, hurt and seemingly indifferent, has no choice but to care for a girl who has created her own world for the motivation of her parents. But how can someone who has neglected his family take care of someone else’s most fragile member? “It’s a job, just a job, ” some would think.

Justine lives by certain rules that her parents have imposed on her so that society doesn’t abuse her. That’s how they understand it. He receives education in the house and his departures are planned and very short. He is almost forbidden to interact with people his age. That’s why more than one imaginary friend has been invented.

The caretather mother has been accepted not without first reading a regulation and not getting out of it. The conflict begins to make her own when she becomes aware and decides to intervene, as life is wide and complex for the organism in relation to the species and body in its possible harmonic construction. Justine may have impediments, but she deserves to interact with the world, beyond those outings where she sits on the sand and talks to her imaginary best friend.

How much Lisa manages in her role as a caregiver in terms of education and therapeutics for Justine, she reverts to it. The decayed and virtually destroyed subject residing inside is eded with his resilience. This happens little by little for the benefit of her own and those around her. Then clashes with the girl’s parents happen, while she begins to worry about her own. Infanta and woman complement each other. Both, from friendship and their respective loneliness, face mistrust and grow.

The soundtrack attracts silence for itself and takes great advantage of it as another character. Justine is not the story of a mere overcoming, but of a rebirth from the inside out, since a near death removes or changes our vision of life. It is a question of understanding that what remains or is missing from finding precise scope. Which one? The one we know includes us to value the importance of others. The person will recover a lot when he decides to consider himself first.

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