My Love Affair with Marriage

I’ve never had a love affair “with” marriage. Is this the reason why I had some love affairs and just one marriage? The true reason that Signe Baumane’s film suggests, in fact, has to be found in her being a woman, a woman who grew up in a society with rigid and clichéd gender roles, where marriage is a sort of natural und obliged horizon for girls – a salvation from dangerous fragility or a fulfilment of intrinsic incompleteness. Is this also a reason for me, a man, to remain an outsider in her (auto-)biographical journey through love and marriages? Not at all, and here is the whole strength of her exceptionally clever animation film. Starting with the most basic, almost rough and cruel binarity of old-fashioned societies, she is able to take anyone – men and women – by the hand and make them experience, step by step, a story of emancipation that largely equals the development of feminism, from male-loaded claims to the vindication of female-specific priorities up to the fundamental questioning of gender binarism and the acceptation of queer experiences – for others and for oneself.

Nevertheless, if this paradigmatic path is not just smart and pedagogic, but also empathic end emotionally convincing, it is due to Baumane’s brilliant filmic ideas. Also thanks to the great power of animation, her choice of the scenes is both fantastic and precise in expressing the deep feelings of her sentimental adventures and misadventures. Starting from the artificially homogeneous voice of her most distant partners to the aching details of the daily life at home with the husband(s), the exaggerations of animation faithfully seize the pure reality of being together and confront herself, as a woman, and every viewer will certainly find a moment of self-recognition in this story, which also has the advantage of being provided with a good dose of humour.



My Love Affair with Marriage | Film | Signe Baumane | LVA-USA-LUX 2022 | 108' | Zurich Film Festival 2022, Black Movie Festival Genève 2023, Festival Fantoche Badel 2023

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First published: October 06, 2022