Double feature: Here are two films depicting the dislocations that the global economy, combined with the dynamics of modern families, can inflict on close relatives. “Alamar,” a narrative/documentary hybrid, takes place in a watery near-Eden; “Last Train Home,” a traditional documentary, in the Dickensian corners of a teeming city.
Both movies depict family members trying to make the most of their rare time together, balancing the hopes (and stresses) of high expectations for quality time against the looming deadlines of separation. Each derives its poignancy from a different response to that tension – in “Alamar,” the determination to make memories and impart knowledge; in “Last Train Home,” the sad victory of the past’s irritations and the future’s worries over the present’s togetherness.
Contrast the father figures in each film – “Alamar”‘s is presented as a sure-handed demigod with his hands on the ropes of life, while the patriarch of “Last Train Home” must wheedle and snipe to effect any influence over the events around him. Each, in his own way, develops the means to reconcile himself to the state of his domestic affairs.
The subjects of the traditional documentary come across as more concerned with the presentation of their story than those of the hybrid one – is this as it should be, or the opposite?
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “miladus” and “Eric in SF” at Flickr)