Lynne Ramsey's 1999 amazing debut film Ratcatcher is not always easy to watch. Tragedy occurs within the first few moments of the film while the viewer is still trying to establish where they are in place and time, abruptly swinging the focus directly on to the character of young James, as played by William Eadie. He and his family live on the razor's edge of poverty in 1970s Glasgow, and he dreams of escaping from the vermin and murky canals that define the borders of his life to the new houses being built outside the city limits. Eadie is a revelation in what has been his only film role so far, and Ramsey as a director has a very sharp eye for light and color during grim and humorous moments alike. The images she creates onscreen can appear almost dreamlike in their fragile beauty, at the same that they become completely unforgettable. I saw Ratcatcher last night, and I've been still turning some moments from the film over and over in my head all day today.
Speaking of movies, New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis will be speaking at the SF Art Institute tomorrow night about how roles for women in Hollywood productions have been increasingly marginalized over the last two decades. I am reminded of Shirley MacLaine's famous quote: "I am an expert in hookers. I'm an expert in doormats. I'm an expert in victims. They were the best parts."