“The ambiguity of Kundera’s universe in which Socialist “repression” creates the conditions for authentic happiness is perhaps best rendered at the end of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” – Philip Kaufman’s unjustly depreciated film version of the novel resorts to a temporal displacement that successfully condenses the end of Kundera’s novel. Late at night, the hero, a dissident doctor exiled to the Czech countryside, returns home with his wife from a dance in a small nearby town; the last sight of them is a point-of-view shot of the dark macadam road illuminated by the lights of their truck. The film suddenly cuts to California a couple of weeks later; their friend Sabina, who lives there as a sculptor, receives a letter informing her of their death in a traffic accident while returning home from a dance, and comments that “they must have been happy at the time of their death.” The film then cuts back to the previous scene, a simple continuation of the point-of-view shot, from the driver’s seat, of the road into which our gaze penetrates. The sublime effect of this last shot results from a temporal displacement: it hinges on the coexistence of the spectator’s knowledge that the hero and his wife are already dead, with their forward-moving gaze on a strangely illuminated road. The point is not only that the allure of this strange illumination acquires the meaning of death, but rather that this last point-of-view shot belongs to people who are still alive, although we know that they are already dead. After the flash-forward to California informing us of their death, the hero and his wife dwell in the domain between two deaths”the same shot which was, prior to the flash-forward, a simple point-of-view shot of living subjects, now renders the gaze of the “living dead.” – SLAVOJ ZIZEK http://ift.tt/1PnGCVy

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