September 13, 2021
Let us not be fooled by this comedy that depicts a chapter in the life of a movie studio seamstress, that organizes a wedding ceremony in which she will marry….herself. What is it about current society to even imagine such a story? The Movie Shrink thinks he has a few elements to understand.
ROSA’S WEDDING, a Spanish comedy production, directed by former actress Iciar Bollain. The film was in nomination for several prizes in the 2020-2021 Goya annual film awards.
The story is about Rosa, an unmarried movie studio seamstress, who is continually asked to contribute to the welfare of others, in her demanding job, but also in her family, her brother who asks her to keep his children, and her best friend who asks her to keep her cat, just to give a few examples.
Her limits are reached when her father, recently widowed, tells her of his plan to move in with her in her apartment.
In the face of these incessant demands, Rosa plans to leave the city to move to the coastal village of Benicassim and revive a business that her deceased mother had, a small clothing and seamstress business of her own.
In addition to this move, Rosa has another plan, that of organizing a wedding ceremony … a marriage with herself on the beach near her new home. She even asks her father the same financial contribution he has made to the marriage of her siblings when they had marriage ceremonies themselves (with partners, in their case).
The marriage does take place, on the beach, as planned, in front of the unbelieving members of her extended family. The extended family’s more senior members are particularly surprised as they continue to search for the groom candidate, who is nowhere to be found.
THE MOVIE SHRINK’S ANALYSIS
There is a statistic that appears in census and surveys data in recent decades in European, North American, and other developed societies, and it reflects the growing numbers of “households” listed as counting only one person. The statistic has been on the rise in these countries for several decades, and can presently reach over 25 % of households.
In Japan, there is presently a trend for young women to have no plans at all to get married or even find a partner, something new in that country.
The global statistics also reflect the fact that many senior citizens, widowed, live alone, in our aging societies.
However, beyond the statistics, the film also underlines qualitative elements.
There is of course the story of Rosa, who is trying to liberate herself from the constraints of the traditional role of women, who have been encouraged to see to the needs of everyone except themselves.
But is also about our current contemporary society, where the growing individualism is the backdrop that even permits Rosa to imagine a wedding with herself.
That is to suggest that our contemporary currents can be made up of contrasting elements. If, for example, one can rejoice that Rosa is engaged in a liberating struggle, it is less obvious that what facilitates that move are current socio-economic elements, the normative dimensions of which are not as clear.
Our current films can indeed expose contrasting elements. On the one hand, it portrays a story of feminist liberation, and on the other hand, it suggests that individualism is an important foundation of current societies.
It is as if, to exist, social realities had to have several dimensions, much like the physical realities, where there have to be several dimensions (width, height, depth, and time) to exist at a given time in space.
But what are these other dimensions that are present in the film?
There might be an element related to the dynamics of the Spanish family, as the family is an institution under siege, especially in Southern Europe, in the face of public policies that have promoted individualism, which affect even less traditional societies, as David Goodhart has shown in his book The Road to Somewhere of 2017, in the case of these contemporary trends in British society.
Quite recently, in the same spirit, in the 2018 film Everybody knows, the story portrayed the enduring force of the rural Spanish family, but under stress under the strains of contemporary social trends.
A LARGER PERSPECTIVE
What Rosa’s wedding suggests is that current social trends which we would consider positive, such as the liberation that Rosa is trying to achieve as an independent woman, are supported or accompanied by other contemporary trends, such as assertive individualism, which could be more difficult to categorize as positive, from a normative point of view.
In the same spirit, the traditional Spanish family appears under siege in its foundations by socio-economic trends, supported in part by the larger economic integration to the European Union.
All these trends and contradictions are to be found in Rosa, who wants to marry herself.