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Is remission possible?

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Redeeming our sins is a concept that came at a cost in my mind at the age of 13 or 14 in the long conversations of catechesis at St. Peter's Church in Ponta Delgada.

Redeeming is repairing, saving, rescuing, correcting. But redeeming has a very own meaning that only the word redeem can achieve. Otherwise, words didn't exist.

The counter cards (The Player) by Paul Schrader is a film about remission.

Taxi Driver, the Obsession, The Last Temptation of Christ are films that have had their signature in writing the script. But his brand has been present since 1978 and in more than 20 films.

He's the filmmaker of the contention. You feel like you're someone who likes to write and write what you film. There is, therefore, the complexity of words and the intimacy of the most profound emotions that minute writing allows. And yet, it's a silent film that speaks for itself.

Right at the beginning of the film feels the weight of the past. The film has initial credits, something that practically disappeared in the century's cinema of the 21 century.

The proportion of the frame is 1.66: 1, the ratio of frames in European movies in the 60s. The image is almost square, intimate.

The first scenes refer us to a specific imaginary of American cinema: prisons=crime=violence=war=game then basic jumps of the human being.

The character has discovered the internal mechanics of playing games, learning to count the cards, and anticipating moves.

Play with restraint, no excesses. "If you win, you get out. If you lose, you go out too." This is where the remission of the past begins. A personal history of excess?

The desire that moves the central character is the desire for remission. What holds us to the screen is whether this remission is possible or not.

As a non-American and European, I wonder if it is possible for the US to redeem itself from its sins. And it is the Americans themselves who think there have been sins, even committed in the name of freedom or democracy.

But it wasn't just Americans who made mistakes. Europeans are also sinners of terrible crimes. In a way, we keep committing them.

And is there remission for these sins?

The last image from the film gives a clue. It is a proposal of a filmmaker, born in 1946. It belongs to a generation that crossed the second half of the 20th century and watched a lot.

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