A lucid portrayal of protagonist Zelma rebelling against stereotypes painted on women – ‘My Love Affair with Marriage’ is inspired by and bears distinct signatures of director Signe Baumane’s own personal life – the failure of her second marriage, growing up with typecasting of women into specific roles and rebellion against such notions – apart from being her take on the complexity and essence of love & relationships.
Addressing media and film delegates at the ‘Table Talk’ organised by PIB at 53rd IFFI, Signe Baumane spoke about how women grow up with norms on how to eat, dress, sit, behave and how/whom to marry – often conditioned by the most intimate of relations like mothers – and with total disregard for individual agency. In the event of things going wrong, society provides a conformist solution to that too – captured wonderfully in the scene where the Zelma’s mother advises her to love her children more than her husband – as an escape route to any conflict arising within her marriage.
When asked about whether she would like her movie to be labelled as feminist, Signe pointed out how the word “Feminist” is more about social, economic & political equality of women. When women rise up to tell personal stories and claim such equality, they encounter hurdles because of society’s watertight notions on the roles of women. She felt because of such notions, her narration of something personal might appear as a political or feminist act to many.
“The narrow spaces for individuals – how they must live between 2 unforgiving forces of biological reality vs societal directives – is what intrigued me and inspired me to make this film”, Signe said.
Producer Sturgis Warner also spoke about the 7-year journey the film took to materialize, made possible by 1600 contributors in various ways, which the film has acknowledged in its credits. Setting up 3D sets, taking stop-motion and still photographs and then doing animation on them, getting political map animation right etc. were the kind of efforts it took to give shape to this film, Warner said.
On the Indian cinematic arena and films, Signe recalled how while growing up in erstwhile Soviet Union, she would watch Indian movies which provided wholesome entertainment. She suggested that Indian filmmakers come up with more personal stories, on individual experiences. Producer Sturgis Warner added that such films as theirs should be seen across cultures, and OTT platforms/distributors should take the call to disseminate personal stories as widely as possible.
Signe concluded by speaking on the envisioned impact of her film on the audience – she felt choices made today will define a progressive society of tomorrow, and this will be enabled by films on people who are different, who choose to be different and society gives them the space to be different.
My Love Affair with Marriage was screened at IFFI 53 yesterday and received a rousing reception.
Film: My Love Affair with Marriage
Direction & Screenplay: Signe Baumane
Producers: Roberts Vinovskis, Sturgis Warner, Signe Baumane, Raoul Nadalet
Editors: Signe Baumane, Sturgis Warner.
Cast: Zelma: Dagmara Dominczyk,
Biology: Michele Pawk.
Mythology Sirens: Trio Lemonade – Ieva Katkovska, Kristine Pastare, Iluta Alsberga
From an early age, songs and fairytales had convinced Zelma that love would solve all her problems as long as she abided by societal expectations of how a girl should act. But as she grew older, something did not seem right with the concept of love. The more she tried to conform, the more her body resisted. A story about the acceptance of the inner female rebellion.