08 mai 2007
There's Always Tomorrow
There's Always Tomorrow was my first black and white Sirk film. My favorite element of Sirk's filmmaking is his use of near-Brechtian color design, his complex use of color harmonies and their shifting interplay - the way he extends to their fullest the implausible possibilities of 1950's Technicolor. More striking, though, is what I saw as a gender-shift; I hadn't seen a Sirk film where it's the husband who's stifled by a marriage and unable to pursue a new - or old - love. To say that "Sirk views the home as a sort of prison" is overly simplistic. This film is an examination of the trajectories of relationships. People fall in love, and direct themselves toward domestic bliss, but this domesticity necessarily involves the taming of the passion that drives a couple toward domesticity. In the film we see all stages of this Sirkean existentialism: the young child who has not yet developed romantic attachments; the girl who deals with their first stirrings (her "emotional problems"); the eldest son who has a steady girlfriend but is still adolescent in his relationship. All of the above are products of the domestic life and are limiting factors in the relationship of their parents. The father has been through years of domestic life and finds his life wanting for passion, and has a chance to rekindle it in another relationship (with a woman who arrives from his pre-domestic past). Note that by the end of the film we've seen two major character transformations in the Groves household: the son has become a "man" in his relationship, starting down the road to domesticity; and the father has rediscovered the value of his home life, and will work at making that relationship successful. While the film ends on a bittersweet note that abandons the hope of his new (old) love, the Groves family tries instead to make his old love new. It's an ending both true to life and almost optimistic... with the 'almost' supplied by the rest of Sirk's work and its sense of lingering loss.