It rarely happens to us, leaving a cinema before the end of the film. But during Berlinale 2015 our film schedule was so tight that we had to leave Chorus 20 minutes before the end to catch another film. It’s not that Chorus was a bad film, but we felt relieved when we closed the cinema doors behind us. Taken away from the devastating lives of Christophe and Irène who – after ten years of unsolved misery were confronted with the awful truth about what happened to their 8 year old son. The film reveals their pain and sadness after they lost their child who was taken by a pedophile and never returned home.
The question raises: do we want to know what happened? And if so, why would we want to know what happened? At this point we approach a major dispute in the essential of cinema. Before we mentioned that cinema is a wonderful medium that has the incredible power to take you to another world where you have never been, to make to feel what didn’t really happen to you, and to make you explore situations that exists far from your daily life. Cinema enriched your knowledge of the world, it creates awareness.
On the streets in Berlin Charlotte and I had a discussion why the director would make such a film. It was hard to find a reason why, which is weird because it’s not that we close our eyes from severe topics. The amount of pleasant versus unpleasant films should be about the same in the history of film. For our film program we always search for a balance between funny and emotional stories. But why is pedophili a subject we somehow couldn’t deal with? Was is too uncomforable to sit and watch how lonely and terrible Christophe and Irene felt? I was ashamed for them, because of what happened to them; a confusing feeling that I couldn’t stand.
To be honest I was surprised that Chorus was released in the Dutch cinemas, taken the past news about child abuse in churches and nursery. Yet, I had to see the end of the film. For me it felt as an unsolved project as well: what happened to Christophe and Irène? I felt miserable in Berlin after being confronted with the offenders confession. But, months later I didn’t feel so bad as then. Chorus is about unbearable pain and loss, but also about the power of memories, deep relations and independent development. Time doesn’t heal a wound, Irène mentioned in the film. She refuses to put aside what happened, she hates the meaning of mourning. You can’t look away from the past, you can’t look away from what’s happening in our world.
The subject of this blog shouldn’t be about censure. We did something wrong here: we walked away in the middle of a film. The uneasy scenes made me develop a premature opinion. Therefore, the message is: always watch the end of a film before you make statement about it.