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The Very Disturbing Tale of Marriage

Marriage; the word is as complex as the institution itself. It can be transformative in a benevolent or a restrictive manner. The same can be said for filmmaker Katerina Phillippou-Curtis’s production of the same name. Katerina has adeptly used the institution as an illustration of the fragile and chaotic state of Europe in the world. Financial chaos, humanitarian crisis, and rampant anxiety are communicated through the relationship of a wife named Europe (actress Miranda Magee) and her husband Rich (played by Christopher Slater). Vacillating between black and white and color formats as well as what might best be described as the subconscious versus reality, Marriage contains all of the components which present themselves in the region. This is allegorical storytelling in the tradition of the classics. The story is enough to be provocative but not so heavy handed as to be preachy or condescending. Americans need not be concerned that they are left out of the film. Rich’s interloping boss Larry (portrayed by Gregory Caine) is an obvious representation of Wall Street in the personal lives of Europe and her family. For those trying to make sense of this global crisis and the influence we all have, Marriage is an entrée; though it does not come without an emotional price.

Katerina Phillippou-Curtis has assigned global factors to the spouses in Marriage. Europe is the wife who represents the humanity; most specifically, the overwhelming humanitarian crisis. Her husband Rich embodies the financial forces in the world whose greed blinds him to the well-being of any but himself. Rich’s materialism and adulterous conduct have stripped him of any moral compass that resembles the man Europe once loved. Europe struggles to retain her sense of self and true character while their union crumbles. She retreats to her own thoughts in an attempt to define her own identity and how she got to this point, at times resurfacing to reality. These transitions are exaggerated as they move between color and black & white film. The couple’s penthouse views intelligently includes varying locations like Athens, New York, London, and Paris to deeply infer that the entire world is a part of this situation.

Gregory Caine appears in the film as a Wall Street banker named Larry. As Rich’s boss, Larry represents the US financial system and the pressure it places on other countries, particularly the poorer countries with large debts. Outside of the marriage itself, Larry is the most pivotal character in the film as he serves to deepen the chasm between the empathy of Europe and the greed with which consumes her husband. It’s perhaps a difficult idea for someone from the states to contemplate but when viewed through Caine’s performance, can be enlightening. Gregory (known for films such as Bloodline, Katusha, Line in the Sand, and TV roles in ABC’s AACTA award-winning series Utopia and BBC’s Siblings) relates, “Larry is most definitely a villain and I had an absolute blast playing him. I have always enjoyed playing villains and I think it's mostly because they are so opposite from me. He invades Rich and his wife's home, constantly taunting the couple and adding stress to their already crumbling marriage. Larry is a predatory person and as a representation of a predatory financial system. Like all true predators, he knows every weakness of his prey and uses his power and influence to pressure Rich into poorer and poorer decisions.” Katerina encouraged Caine to pursue his vision of Larry as passionate, tormenting, vitriolic, and unremorseful.

This feature film took four years to manifest. The storyline follows a congruent line with world events that shows incredible and somewhat eerie foresight. Marriage has resonated in many cultures; vetted with forty-five awards from such festivals as the London Independent Film Awards, NYC Indie Film Awards, Jaipur International Film Festival, Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, and European Independent Film Awards. This deeply human story displays suffering and struggles but also compassion, love, and overcoming adversity. It’s a stark look at ourselves and others. Marriage asks us to place pride and ego aside, questioning our own actions in the world and what is the most benevolent course to pursue. As with the character’s and places they represent, we can all take responsibility for our faults and strengths. The cast and creatives behind creating this film allow us some distance to consider the present and the future.

Author: Kelly King

The Very Disturbing Tale of Marriage Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:00:00 AM Rating: 5
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