3 Women

3 Women ★★★★½

Through others we become ourselves. 

it might seem strange, but - and in this sense it strikes its similarities with Persona - 3 Women seems, at its heart, a study in rebirth through imitation. 

life is but an idle battleground, with a darkness awaiting us from the shadows, patiently sitting, counting the moments before it can pounce at us, unmasking us and showing the world who we truly are within, who we have always been. every act we take is watched with an analytical depth beyond any comprehension, and our thoughts and feelings are all read with a great understanding than what we ourselves may ever understand. 

we may build up an archetype of what we believe ourselves to be, we may figure out a facade to cloak our true thoughts with, but whatever is within us, whatever is truly deep down, will always show itself eventually. but, what goes for that facade, what happens to its expert crafting, does it merely go to waste? 

but that is when this darkness comes into the light, or where those shadows fade away and it is forced into this light, the light that we ourselves have lived our entire lives within, one that we have fought and begun to understand for ourselves. however, as we drop our cloak, there will always be the darkness awaiting it to hit the ground so it can pick it up for itself. but can it survive? 

like rejecting a transplanted organ, our personas can reject adopted facades, it can reject the personality of another, but this may not become immediately evident. while its original beholder may have understood and had the experience to control this cloak, an individual that may have just wandered upon it would have to battle harder just to upkeep its difficulty, to fend off the power of of it’s wrath, ultimately ending in the destruction of the psyche right down to its very roots.

so they are defeated. but by who? who is it that has been standing by, invisibly, and draining them of the life they had needed to control their impulsive desires? what had it been? 

perhaps what Altman had been attempting to hint at is that this is a consequence of the duality that women must undertake in society, having spent their entire lives either pinned against a male gaze, or desperately clinging to a certain reality of their own. these women are dispossessed beyond any notion of my ability to explain, but that doesn’t need explaining, for it is all so perfectly shown. however, this is just one simple observation and beyond that i will not go any further with it. 

i’ve previously been paying a lot more attention to opening scenes, and i have to say that paying attention to this one took no effort at all, it merely commanded my eyes across it. it has to be the best i’ve ever seen. if i keep in line the thoughts of rebirth that i had assumed from the beginning of this review, then the scene itself would make even more sense than originally thought, and would pair with that final scene greater than anything else. i really don’t want to go into too much greater detail as, for those who haven’t seen this, it’s an experience to behold, but there is such a perfect sense of surreality, a coldness cloaked in warmth, an essence of unease and insanity, but with nowhere for us to go but be led by the cameras movements, we are enmeshed in the strings dwellings from start to finish. 

the sound has to be some of the most intricate i’ve heard, but i was not entirely surprised by this as the intricacies of outside conversations had been a clear fascination of Altman’s throughout his career, and, in watching this, you realise how perfect such a fascination had been under the circumstances. you yourself are drawn into these intense internal dilemmas of whether conversations you are hearing are those occurring around you, beneath you, anywhere, or ones from the film, and the characters themselves, aided by some incredible acting, convey this obsession so perfectly. it is born as a symptom of the schizophrenia, or the BPD, which had been so empathetically, and clearly deep-rooted throughout, with the characters seen turning cogs in their very heads along with you, questioning where that sound has been coming from. 

this… THIS! is fucking cinema. Altman, i love you.

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