李俊弘 James Lee 實習諮商心理師
“Do you love me?”
From the get-go, you’re met with the raw emotions of loss and grief. The film, though quiet, was all too real. The coldness, the distant relationship, the unbearable tension all come together to make a work of art. Unlike many films where family dysfunction is often portrayed alongside humor or masked by intense rage, Pilatus brings about a brutally authentic depiction of the dysfunctional relationship between a widowed mother and an emotionally-detached daughter.
Although the dynamic between mother and daughter was visibly broken, it was still heart-wrenching to see the daughter love in a loveless manner and the mother tolerate the painful interactions. The way the director honed in on the facial expressions of the characters was brilliant, and added immensely to the silent tension. The contrast between the mother’s aching silence and the daughter’s bigotry was devastatingly compelling.
Pilatus takes on a realistic view of aging coupled with the unfortunate happening of the loss of a partner, while adding a truthful illustration of toxicity in a parent-child relation. There’s an obvious lack of understanding of one another’s love language between the mother and the daughter, which leads to the creation of a helplessly isolated mother and a repressed and contemptuous daughter.
For many estranged relationships between family members, the development of disdain rarely breeds sporadically. The unconscious process of dismantling relationships with family members often stems from long-term engagements in miscommunication, potentially unfortunate misunderstandings, and or struggles with power and control. There’s obviously a backstory to their relationship, but the focus on the here-and-now makes it more relatable on multiple levels. One’s upbringing has a massive influence on the development of their identity. Throughout the film, you can see the daughter continue to struggle with her self-imposed duties and responsibilities. To the world, she is well-established and evidently successful. But who is she in the eyes of a love-starved mother?
And to that, maybe she would want to say: “I am your loveless daughter”
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