Diaries Magazine

Hysteria & the Great Mechanical Man

By Danielleabroad
Happy Monday, m'dears. I have to admit, I kind of like this day of the week. I know it's often viewed negatively, but think about it: it can be refreshing to come back from a nice weekend, it can be comforting to have a new chance for a good week, and it's kind of nice that it's the one day of the workweek when it accepted to warm up leisurely. How's my "case of the Mondays" optimism? Annoying yet? ;)
hysteria & the great mechanical man I thought it about time that I reflect on the Tribeca Film Festival. I was lucky enough to see two in theaters and watch one from the comfort of my own home. Each was unique yet moving in its own way, not to mention beautifully done.
  • Hysteria: I love stories based on true events, especially when they take place during a time period as interesting as 19th century London. Maggie Gyllenhaal gave an impressive performance, the costumes were amazing, and the story was timely. On the surface, the amusing tale unfolds as the invention of the electro-mechanical vibrator, but it also digs deeper into questions of modern medicine (and it's advances), women's health, and, of course, the concept of "hysteria." Even today, I feel as though women are too often classified as crazy for feeling, doing, or saying anything less than agreeable. It's disrespectful. This film manages to display just how much while also leaving the audience ridiculously entertained.
  • Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story: Viewing this film was first significant because it was my first solo movie theater visit. Secondly, because of how deeply touching it was. It was ultimately a documentary about a documentary about racism in the South that most notably featured a revolutionary interview with African-American waiter, Booker Wright, about living in a racist society. Filmmaker Raymond DeFiltta (son of the original documentary's filmmaker) examines the repercussions of this interview with a visit to the Mississippi town and conversations with Booker Wright's family and friends. It was an intense civil rights piece that I'm honestly still digesting, but I highly suggest it all the same.
  • The Giant Mechanical Man: Sometimes I just want to watch a quirky romantic comedy with a relatable takeaway; this film was just that. One of the two main characters is a street performer who, unsurprisingly, dresses up as giant mechanical man. The sweetest part is that he does this to show people that he feels the same monotony and sense of being lost in our modern world. "I'm born into this life and I'm supposed to know what I'm doing, I'm supposed to have it all figured out... but I don't." This resonates completely with the other protagonist (Jenna Fischer), and the love story begins. Oh, and believe it or not, she played a role in a simultaneous real-life romance too. "In a way, I think the movie helped us fall in love, and our falling in love helped the movie." They are now married with a child. Adorable.
Words by D.Alvarez, Photo by K. Ottomanelli

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