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Ellen and the utopia of love

Ellen talks about life at the hotel as if it were some sort of dream world where no one belongs to anyone else, where exchanges are completely free. A kind of utopia that only exists somewhere out of this world, far away from all rules. This explains the shock she experiences when she discovers the naked corpses of Legba and his childhood sweetheart on the beach. The outside world, which she does her utmost to avoid, comes flying back in her face. I am not convinced that they were making love - nothing seems to indicate it - but it is important that this is what Ellen sees. This cruel moment enables her to realize that Legba was not only what she wanted him to be. It also enables her to better understand her own role in this story.

My place is not here

I do not judge my characters. If there is a common thread with my previous films, it is in these beings, who have not found their place, who are acutely aware that they are uprooted. They try and make do with the tragedy of their lives. We wrote the line, “What am I doing here?” very early on, but it was only much later that it began to resonate with the line at the end of “Human Resources,” “And where is your place?” The situations are not comparable but the question remains. For to my mind what makes a character exist is his own awareness, often very painful, of his exclusion and solitude.

From this point of view, Brenda is by far the most optimistic character of all my films. Her place, she finally seems to find it. I do not judge the fact that she overcomes her pain so easily, that she visits other islands, happily citing their names as if she were talking about her next lovers. It is a real opening. She finally has a reason to live, a path to follow. Of course, there is nothing to stop us from thinking that she could in turn lose herself, taking over where Ellen left off.

In Dany Laferrière’s short stories the endings are always terse. A single sentence that concludes with an opening. In my films I always try to keep the endings open, something I have often been reproached for. In this film, I like the abruptness of the last shot, its lack of premeditation, all of the questions it poses as to Brenda’s future.

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