Movie – For I am Dead
Director – Patricia Delso Lucas
Written and directed by Madrid born Brussels based Particia Delso Lucas For I am Dead is a beautiful film to watch.
The movie is a sensible representation of what a person who does not fit into the societal construct feels. The movie is set in late nineteenth century Europe and has successfully created an impact on the viewers minds. The setting, the props all remind the viewers of the regency era and show us how a story can be taken to a different height if told with elegance.
The movie revolves around a wealthy middle-aged man named Oscar. His life is full of material abundance and indulgence but his existence is just a facade. His identity is not complete, he conceals his sexuality and suffers in silence. The movie begins with Oscar’s narration of what he has been so far. Oscar’s huge house hints at this wealth and flourishing condition. It is also important to note how empty the entire house looks. The emptiness of the house echoes Oscar’s loneliness and miserable life. The house thus becomes an extended metaphor for his empty life and lonely mind. The women in his house are overlooked in each frame as they do not really serve a purpose in Oscar’s life. They are just merely tools for his facade as a charming young man who is attractive to women. The women in this narrative are silenced and have a passive contribution in the storyline. The women are symbols of his lavish life that he has crafted with lies for the outer world to see, and ironically, he slowly gets tangled into this web of fasity.
The backdrop of the movie is also extremely crucial since Europe was not a paradise for homosexual people back then. Patricia craftily creates a situation where Oscar is trapped into the web of the societal expectation.
The character suffers miserably and still maintains the heteronormative behaviour to not rouse any doubt. He adheres to the behaviour expected of him and spends his life lavishly. Apparently his life looks full of satisfaction, whereas the reality is far away from it.
The setting and cinematography also highlights the struggles that Oscar faces on a daily basis. The panning of the camera, the loud noise of eating all create an uncomfortable situation that disgusts the viewers and makes them feel uneasy. It is as if the viewer is made to feel disgusted and out of the place intentionally. This situation echoes the condition of Oscar who also does not feel like belonging to his own place. It is ironic how despite having every comfort and materialistic privileges, he repeatedly fails to enjoy life as he should. His inability to express himself shows how suffocating
society had been for people who came before us. Failing to live with his true identity, he seeks refuge in wine, courtesans and opium.
Oscar’s life begins to take a turn once Jude enters his life. It is a subtle touch of the writer as Jude stands for Oscar’s love, he also pines for Jude’s praise and appreciation. Jude is of Hebrew origin and it means praised. Jude’s presence in the narrative shows how Oscar also craves to be who he truly is and how he silently looks for a streak of support for putting up with his reality for so long.
The power struggle and romantic struggle between Oscar, the master and Jude, the gardener is also a commendable aspect in Patricia’s film. Their story makes the viewers think of the multiple “what ifs” that could have happened in real life. The actors Al Nazemian and Riggsby Lane play OScar and Jude with great care.
The plentiful resources of Oscar’s life is not enough for him, and it is commendable how Patricia organised all the nuances in just an 18 minutes time frame. The movie is well made and deserves worldwide attention. For I am Dead provides a peek into the past and a homage to all those who have silently suffered and left us untimely. It is indeed a great film.