“READ ME”: a visage lit in orange glow, hands, bodies, hands caressing bodies, the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, the two words blinking mutely from a desktop screen, silence. So opens — in oneiric, inert fashion — Morvern Callar, a palimpsest of orange, beige, and grayscale, set to the disquieting rhythm of a society whose margins aren’t quite defined, perhaps not definable, whose success stories overwhelm the silent failures amidst them. Morvern Callar (Samantha Morton), a supermarket clerk, is one such failure, working dead-end retail at the age of twenty-one and betrothed to her recently deceased boyfriend, a writer leaving behind a hole to his head, his corpse on the apartment floor, a copy of his manuscript, and his suicide note which beckons: “READ ME.” These two words, appearing only fleetingly, arguably constitute the film’s clarion call to the viewer, an injunction for the bourgeois outsider to peer into, and find poetry in, the lives of their poorer others.
Credit: Cowboy Pictures
by Morris Yang• Featured• Film• Kicking the Canon• Kicking the Canon