Looking back…Abouna…Scolding…Mona Lisa…

I was re-reading Fanon yesterday and thought to add this thought to my previous post about Abouna:

When we look at something, it immediately becomes an object, both literally and grammatically. As subjects, we can pass judgment on or criticize the objects of our gaze, and not expect them to reply. We say “That table is black”, and we do not expect it to change its colour because we have already proclaimed it to be black. We say “That boy is stupid” and we do not expect him to walk up to us and tell us that he is not, because in looking at him and judging him, we now hold a certain power over him, the power somewhat similar to the type of power that a hypnotist has over his patient. Our gazing upon another object forces the object to act a certain way: that way usually being the way we have declared them to be or some other way that restricts what he can do as compared to what he would do if we were not looking.

However, what happens when the object looks back? As Angela noted in class, we felt a discomfort when Amine’s father looks directly back at us in Abouna’s opening scene. That discomfort comes from the fact that our object has now looked back, and in a sense, has now Continue reading

Seeing in “Abouna”

Seeing in Abouna is exemplified in the first moment the two brothers see their father.  He appears to them on a movie screen.  The three layers of gaze (the audience viewing the film, the children viewing the movie, and the questionable reality of the entire scene) make his appearance seem magical, confusing, and sets the visual tone of the film.

(25:39) Father appears on screen.

(25:39) Father appears on screen.

Some external reviews site that the film is more about the cinematography of Abraham Haile Biru than the story itself, and the pain of the film is in stark contrast to its cinematic beauty.  Continue reading

Abouna…

Things I noted about Abouna:

I will say that I did not see Amine’s death coming until Tahir started reading the story of the boa constrictor to him. My interpretation of the story, given the circumstances, was that the boa was Amine’s asthma, and Amine was the boa’s prey. Amine’s life is cut rather suddenly by asthma, just like how the boa swallows its prey quickly and digests it later, rather than killing it slowly by chewing it first and digesting later. In addition, Amine says that the story is significant to him because he always falls asleep before the end, an observation that is a bit analogous to the fact that the boa swallows its prey without chewing (an essential end to the first part of the digestive process in many animals.)

I found some of the visual cues that movie gave us for significant events in the movie rather interesting:

Abouna

I honestly did not get the point of the movie. It just seemed like the boys were preoccupied in finding their father and never actually succeeded in finding him. It was as if they were unable to see the good right in front of them (their mother), only looking for something that isn’t there. Possibly placing an unnecessary importance on the father figure and not enough on the mother? Also unusual was he fact that Amine and Tahir both wore the same shirts everyday: Tahir blue and Amine orange. I first thought Continue reading