Film Movement's new "Classics" division, those of us who've had a hankering to revisit a movie we loved and that won Best Foreign Language Film some 20 years ago can do just that, come this Tuesday April 19, when ANTONIA'S LINE comes to Blu-ray (the transfer is generally sparkling and quite lovely), DVD and Digital Download. I remember that our entire family left the theater in tears (rather joyful ones) at the end of the film, but other than that I could not recall a single specific scene. Consequently, I think I enjoyed the movie every bit as much the second time around and am happy to report that it holds up quite beautifully both in terms of its content (five generations of women -- the titular Antonia and her mom, daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter -- and how they make their way in our world) and its style (combining dark humor with magic realism to form an odd but very appealing "reality").
Marleen Gorris, shown at left, the movie is enormously feminist without ever having to use the word or push it any further than the film can easily maintain. It takes the position that, in a patriarchal society, strong women must isolate, to some extent at least, and these women certainly do that, while inviting certain of the men into their circle but on the women's terms, not those of the guys. Each woman in this line pursues her own agenda -- art, science/math/music, writing and exploring -- with both achievement and enjoyment, while the men watch and encourage. This is quite the opposite from what we're generally used to seeing in our films -- both mainstream and independent -- but damned if it doesn't work quite wonderfully, for the onscreen characters and us viewers, too.
Els Dottermans, above, who plays Antonia's daughter, Danielle.)
Film Movement Classics, in Dutch with English subtitles and running just 102 minutes, the film arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on April 19th -- for purchase or rental.