Nine Lives

Nine Lives – winner of the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival’s Golden Leopard Award

Directed and written by Rodrigo Garcia/ USA

A mother cleans the floors of the Los Angeles County jail hoping for an early release and the warden is sympathetic. At all costs she wants to visit with her daughter, but the prison guards are mean and uncaring.

A troubled young woman bearing a gun visits her younger sister with the intention of confronting their father for something he has done to her in the past.

A divorced wife goes to the funeral of the woman who became her husband’s second wife and must confront her love for him.

A mother and her handicapped husband do not speak to each other but communicate only through their daughter, while the mother has an affair with another man.

Four more vignettes are told about nine women (all together) whose lives touch each other’s, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not, until a woman makes a yearly visit to the cemetary with her young daughter – or so we think.

I just read as essay by Garcia (the son of Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez) in FLM Magazine (The Voice of Independent Film published by Landmark Theatres, www.movienet.com) where he explains, “Hidden behind these women I can explore the stuff that scares me: relationships we cannot escape; the dependence on loved ones; the caretaking of loved ones; the expectations of loved ones; the loss of loved ones. Can we share our innermost self with a loved one? And if we can’t – what’s left for us?” 

Nine Lives is a very good film that explores life from a woman’s point of view in a credible way. The film held my attention throughout, and has a cast of A-list actors. I liked its multiculturalism and ability to create drama instantly in every vignette. The film reminded me in some ways of Crash by Paul Haggis, but only slightly.

Independent films are often such treasures, like Nine Lives.

I wrote about this film briefly in August as part of my report from the Locarno Film Festival. When the prizes from the independent juries were awarded I was able to meet Garcia; he was very affable – surprised I think to meet another American at the festival. I hope the film does well.

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