Interview between Judy Tyson and Trish Cleary, who will be presenting the next MAGPS Cinema Series movie, “Moonrise Kingdom,” Saturday, February 11, 2017.
J: Would you share a bit about your relationship with movies throughout your life?
TC: Movies have been and continue to be an integral part of my life. In childhood, Saturday afternoon double-features with my three closest siblings fueled our playtime creativity. From childhood to adulthood movies fed my curiosity about the emotional world of people: their feelings, relationships, hopes and fears, as well as their joys and sorrows. Films helped me become aware of my connections with others and awakened my interest in what might be going on in the relationships of those around me. Movies still provide me entertainment, relaxation, and food for thought.
J: I can see that “Moonrise Kingdom” might well evoke personal memories from childhood for many of us. The dramatic play of the children reminded me of, as a child, playing “Tarzan” in the woods with two best friends. That is one of my sweetest childhood memories. How about you?
TC: “Moonrise Kingdom” brings to mind me at twelve with a friend who lived in the country along the Bay. One day while exploring in the woods, we came upon a huge fallen tree with elaborately exposed roots. We named it the Squiggly Tree, a fortress we could approach and/or escape via the woods above or the beach below. Totally concealed by the brush, we nestled into its branch-like roots with our “books, music, and no adults” and dangled aimlessly suspended above the water’s edge.
JT: Do you recall the reason you liked this movie originally? And why you picked it for the MAGPS Cinema Series?
TC: When I saw this film a couple of years ago, I recognized its depiction of the hero’s journey for a number of the characters. It suggests reparative paths for others. It reminded me of processes that occur in the safe holding space of group.
JT: “Moonrise Kingdom’s” narrative, its concise and meaningful script, superb acting, and colorful presentation contribute to its entertainment factor. It seems to me that “Moonrise Kingdom” has a potential for being transformative for the viewer. Do you agree?
TC: In “Moonrise Kingdom,” Wes Anderson uses subtle metaphors and evocative cues to connect us to his characters. The magical creativity of the children’s play as well as the palpable melancholy of the adults responsible for the children’s welfare are reminiscent of issues our clients bring with them to group. The metaphors and cues Anderson projects in “Moonrise Kingdom” convey the emotional depth of his characters. We have seen them in our clients and they may remind us of our own hopes, dreams, fantasies, disappointments and longings.
Our Cinema Series gives us an opportunity to experience a transformative process as a group when watching films together and discussing the significance of our perceptions. We might find that recognizing aspects of ourselves in Wes Anderson’s characters may also be personally transformative.
JT: There are a number of musicians who attend the Cinema Series evenings. I noticed that the film begins with children listening to the recording of Britten’s, “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” which includes a fugue. First, each orchestral instrument plays a beautiful solo. Then, we hear the tune played by families of instruments. Then, (the “fugue” part) all the instruments are played at the same time. And, rather than “noise,” the music is beautiful. Would like you to comment on Anderson’s choice of music in this film.
TC: Wes Anderson’s orchestral score introduces, perhaps out of one’s awareness, subgrouping patterns in the orchestra and within the film, as the music enriches the drama. I look forward to hearing the audience’s observations about Anderson’s use of music to enhance the film.
JT: Dargis, of the New York Times, made the point, “Wes Anderson makes films about…. small worlds in which big things happen: love, heartbreak, calamities, death.” Can you comment on this in regard to what “Moonrise Kingdom” offers group therapists as food for thought?
TC: As group therapists, we are familiar with “small worlds in which big things happen” both in real time and symbolically. In the safe holding place of our groups, repair can occur as we encourage group members to face their life-challenges and embrace their hero journeys as they come to terms with the impact of social forces within the group. Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” portrays group themes and aspects of “the hero’s journey” for many of the characters in his movie.
I found “Moonrise Kingdom” to be profoundly moving. I hope it provides my MAGPS colleagues a rich film experience and then a stimulating discussion.