Cinema Series Interview: “I’ve Loved You So Long”

 

Here is Safia Amara’s interview with Joseph Tarantolo about the upcoming MAGPS Cinema Series movie, “I’ve Loved You So Long.”

 

Amara: Dr. Tarantolo, thank you for taking the time to talk to me about, “I’ve Loved You So Long,” a French film. So tell me, why did you pick this movie in particular?
Tarantolo: When I first saw it several years ago, I walked out of the theater thinking it was a perfect movie. And since that time I have wondered, what is a perfect movie? Well, it has to have a gripping plot, it has to have interesting characters, but more than that, it has to grab me in a certain way that demands that I reflect on it. And it did those things.
Amara: How did this movie grab you?
Tarantolo: Well, at the start of the movie, Kristin Scott Thomas … Well, listen to what Rolling Stone said about her, “Kristin Scott Thomas is absolutely astounding. She gives one of the best performances of this or any year. A stunning film.” So that captures the quality. What I would add … I would add a question to her stunning performance. Because I have been wondering, and I’m going to ask others: do you believe the plot, do you believe the story, or are you just so impressed with the main character that you let reality go by the wayside? And, I’m not sure. I’ve seen the movie twice, I’ll have to look at it a third time to decide whether or not I just fall in love with the character or did the character really capture a reality?
Amara: Has your answer changed each time you’ve seen the movie? Or, have you not asked yourself this question before?
Tarantolo: I watched it a few months ago and I saw it several years ago, so I’m still thinking about it. What I like about this movie for therapists, is there is at least half a dozen different relationships that are depicted that cry out for analysis. And, any one of those half a dozen relationships, whether it’s two sisters, the mother-child, parents, they’re all very evocative, they all hit home. I don’t want to give away the plot. In fact, I would recommend that people not read reviews about it, because when I first saw it I knew nothing so it was all a surprise and that made it much more exciting. It raises some very serious moral and philosophical questions. And, I’m wondering, again, how will others experience the struggles that the characters go through in this movie?
Amara: Would you be able to share what some of those moral or philosophical questions may be?
Tarantolo: Well, again, I don’t want to give the plot away but in the very first scene, you see that the main character, is getting out of jail. So immediately the question is, “Why was she in jail?” and you’re drawn into, if not the moral, the legal issue. And how does whatever it was that she’s in jail for, how does that affect her relationship with the rest of the world? How does it affect the relationship with her universe?
Amara: You mentioned that you like this movie for therapists given the evocative individual relationships depicted. How do you think it relates more specifically to group therapists?
Tarantolo: Well, I won’t be specific, but my favorite scene in the movie involves a group of people around the dinner table. It’s … precious. And, so we’ll see. We’ll see what others think.
Amara: I’m experiencing a lot of anticipation sitting here. I’m wondering if knowing at least something about the plot would change what I take away.
Tarantolo: It would just take away some of the fun of it … being surprised. The questions will be there whether you know the plot beforehand or not. I don’t want to spoil it.
Amara: Sure. Are there … See this is difficult, as we don’t want to spoil it … But, does the movie leave you wanting for something more?
Tarantolo: It leaves me with this struggle that all of us have to face with suffering—that suffering is part of being human and, how well we identify with people who may suffer in the ways we haven’t. But I would say the movie did not leave me wanting more from the movie. Made me more sympathetic to myself, my own suffering. So, no, I was quite satisfied. But the main question I would ask others is, do you believe this movie? Or, is it just good theater?
Amara: I am sure this will be part of the discussion. But what is the significance of this question? How does it affect how you see the movie?
Tarantolo: Well, you know Hollywood is always trying to trick us.  Suck us in.  We’re suckers. And sometimes that’s why we go to the movies, to be sucked in to a different reality for a couple of hours. And afterwards we think , that was interesting, but that’s not real life. Or well that was fun, but that’s not real life. Or that was horrible, but that’s not real life. That’s the question I would pose.
Amara: Well I am quite intrigued to see the movie and ask this question of myself. Are there any final comments that you’d like to share?
Tarantolo: It’s very hard to be a woman.
Amara: I feel like you need to say more. That can’t be possibly be the final comment.
Tarantolo: That’s my final comment.
Amara:  I just remembered an important question I almost forgot to ask.  How do you think the foreign film element effects the story, if at all?
Tarantolo: I thought it had universal appeal. I didn’t think it made a difference that it was made in France. It could have taken place anywhere, or at least anywhere in the western world. I don’t know how it would play in the Middle East, or non-western cultures. But certainly Western Europe, North America, even South America. I think it has universal appeal.
Amara: Well, thank you so much for your time Dr. Tarantolo.
Tarantolo: You’re welcome.
                           CINEMA SERIES presents I’ve Love You So Long on Saturday, December 7, 2019
         Hosts:  Lorraine and Dan Wodiska            Dinner and visiting: 5:30 PM
                     6014 28th St., North                        Film viewing:  6:15 PM
                     Arlington, VA 22207                       Discussion & Dessert
                               A $10 contribution to the cost of the food is requested
Please RSVP by sending an email to cinema@magps.org if interested in attending.
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