Resonance and trajectories
When Legba interrupts Eddy’s dance with Brenda, the child contests his authority, “You’re not my father!” When Ellen offers to bring him to Boston with her, Legba replies, “You re not my mother!” This is just before he goes to visit his real mother. The film is constructed around situations and phrases that rebound from one scene to another.
This resonance also holds true for the characters. There is a link between the young girl at the airport, whose mother wants to give her to Albert, and the girl in the limousine. And there is especially a real correlation between the trajectories of Brenda and Ellen, as if Brenda, at the end of the film, sets out on a path that Ellen, far ahead of her, has decided to end by going home.
Intimacy and society
The intermingling of intimacy and society has always intrigued me. This subject was explored in “Human Resources” and “Time Out” and we find it again in “Heading South.” But the intimate is even more intimate here, for we are dealing with the notion of the couple itself. Which obviously raises the questions of one’s relationship to the body, desire and sexuality, and even politics in a more general manner (dictatorship, violence, North/South relations). The film denotes the social misery of some and the sexual misery of others, then observes what can happen when the two converge.
This is what interested me from the start in the novel: you do not have poor victims on the one hand, and the bastards who manipulate them on the other. In the story “Heading South,” Dany stresses the fact that everyone gets something out of it. This hotel is a small bubble where Americans come to forget the reality of their lives, which are filled with frustration, and rediscover their power of seduction. As for Legba, the hotel is the only place he can go to escape the harsh reality of this country and find a bit of affection. When he’s hungry, someone will give him a sandwich, when he’s thirsty, someone offers him a drink. But moreover, it is the only place where someone will listen to him, where he feels like a human being, a feeling systematically denied to him in the outside world. So there is really an exchange between the women and him. I know that the subject of sexual tourism will frequently arise in relation to the film. I would prefer for people to talk about “love tourism”.