Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan get closer as they dig up fossils in “Ammonite.” Your love story is a beautiful queer intervention.
The sea flares up, the wind blows. The roaring background does not let you go for a walk on the beach. But Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) isn’t out and about on the Dorset coast in south-west England for joy. He looked for fossils there to sell to tourists in the 1840s.
In his youth he once found an impressive swimming dinosaur, now on display in the British Museum. However, instead of his name, the buyer’s name is on the display case. Director and screenwriter Francis Lee shows this extinction in the very beginning of his second feature film, “Ammonite”. Mary Anning – the character is based on the researcher of the same name – is still well known in expert circles.
And so one day she approached amateur paleontologist Roderick Murchison (James McArdle), a genuine fan, with a request to take her on a tour. Mary agrees, she and her mother (Gemma Jones) are in dire need of money. For this reason alone, she also accedes to Murchison’s second request: that he should keep the company of his depressed wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) while he goes on a study trip.
The two women come from completely different worlds: Charlotte wears fine clothes, plays the piano and loves to embroider. Physical activities are foreign to the fragile individual. Mary, on the other hand, is strong but comes from a lower class. She always wears the same simple dress and lives by hard physical work.
So “Amonite” is an extremely physical film. A central motif is the hands of Mary, which are not affected by cold, stones or mud. They grab it, fighting their way out, as their mostly dirty nails are evidence of. Energetic hands are modeled by the removal of the facial expressions of Mary, whose emotional world seems terrified like the skeletons for which she searches the beaches.
love conquers square odds
Oscar winner Kate Winslet is rarely seen taking a backseat like this. But this lack itself creates a tension, especially when the emotional fossil slowly unravels and the sign of a smile actually turns into a glow. To blame is Charlotte, who is embodied alive by Ronan.
Thanks to Mary’s care, she survives a severe flu, and her admiration for the older woman evokes a cautious closeness. Here, too, the hands are of great importance: once Charlotte almost casually touches Mary’s shoulder, she later holds her hand in an emotional moment. But when the two loosened a stone with four hands from the cliffs of the shore, pulled it home and prepared, may Mary return Charlotte’s passion—and give her her permission.[Mehr Neuigkeiten aus der queeren Welt gibt es im monatlichen Queerspiegel-Newsletter des Tagesspiegel – hier geht es zur Anmeldung.]
Much of what appears in “Amonite” marked Lee’s debut “God’s Own Country” four years earlier. Still, Britain juxtaposes rugged landscapes with muted, contradictory figures that slowly draw closer to each other. If there were two men who wanted each other, there are now two women. There is another interesting level in “Amonite”: it is not known about the real Mary Anning whether she had relationships with women. Lee, who says he didn’t want to do a biopic, opens up a space of possibility.
Finally, he shows Mary visiting the British Museum: for a moment she stands in front of a portrait of a man and turns her head so that the depicted person disappears completely and Mary is instead a gold frame. appear in Women – at least homosexuals – have often been made invisible in the history of art and science. With his Mary, Francis Lee now envisions an alternative for him. A daringly quirky intervention that won’t please everyone – but certainly inspires in its implementation. (in ten Berlin cinemas, including OMU)
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