By Mark Bell | May 7, 2012

In filmmaker Jose-Maria Norton’s Celeste, the titular heroine is stuck in the throes of depressing routine in a dreary marriage. Every night Celeste’s husband Carlos, a man who used to be quite the soccer stud before suffering a debilitating injury, limps off into the night for a late shift at a bakery, and Celeste finds her only release in the day: listening to music while she prepares to go out and sleep with her lover. As one would expect, the affair is eventually found out, and both Celeste and Carlos are left to deal with the implications and guilt.

The film has a unique flavor to it, with Celeste able to see and interpret other people’s auras, and it mostly floats in an almost dreamlike cloud but, while the film definitely shows Celeste embracing a more cheerful life devoid of her husband, there is a tragedy about the entire affair. You get the impression that her husband was not that bad a guy prior to his injury, and he’s let his life get away from him. So, his wife went elsewhere for some cheer.

As much as I’d want Celeste to find happiness for herself and her life, I too feel for Carlos. Unhappily going to work daily for a late-night shift while his wife sleeps around behind his back, you wonder what else, besides not being such a downer at home, he could’ve done to make her happy? I didn’t get such an impression that they were wrong for each other as much as I got the feeling that circumstances had driven them apart. Which, again, is tragic. But does that really make him the bad guy, or is he just too far gone and now it’s a case of salvation or damnation for Celeste?

In the end, I’m not entirely sure what Celeste was trying to say. While her life with her husband is not a happy one, the end scene has just enough peculiarity to its editing and style that I’m still not sure exactly what happened in the resolution, and therefore I’m at a loss for how to interpret it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and the ambiguity feels less like a lazy cop-out than just a bold artistic choice by the filmmaker that I, for whatever reason, had trouble following. Still, I’m unsure what I’m supposed to take away from the film.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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