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Harold and Maude

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Andrew   
48 minutes ago, phlox said:

 

[spoilers]

Why wasn't there more about Harold discovering Maude was a holocaust survivor? Why did she throw the ring he gave her into the water? Did Harold and Maude actually have sex or just sleep together? And most of all, if Maude had so much free-wheeling love of life, art and play, why did she off herself with pills at the end?

 

I'm not an expert on the film by any means, but I've watched it a few times and ranks as a favorite.  So I'll give my response to a few of your questions:

- I think Ashby handles the revelation of Maude as a Holocaust survivor just right, letting us know subtly that this experience has without doubt profoundly affected Maude's 'embrace the moment,' life-affiriming ethos.  I have deep respect for directors who don't belabor key story points, trusting audiences enough to connect the dots.

- I think her experience as a Holocaust survivor helps answer your last question:  she's had the power of life and death removed from her once before, she's gonna go out on her own terms.  (As a doc who's seen many patients linger agonizingly in cold ICUs because their families can't let go of them, I have profound respect for her choice here.) 

- And I've always presumed that H & M did the deed; I don't see any reason to assume they didn't, and the 'afterwards' scene is set up in the style of a Hollywood post-coital scene.

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phlox   

Thanks for the helpful insights.

The producer Chuck Mulvehill was at the festival, and said about the 'morning-after' scene, "Oddly, while this was pitched as a love story, the studio never thought it was a LOVE story. They were not down with the idea that the relationship might actually be consummated."

I liked the anti-war, fight-the-system attitude, which seems as relevant now as it was then.

My favorite film from VFF though, was The Leisure Seeker (2017) --

[spoilers]

which also ends in suicide -- but has many funny parts throughout.

 

Edited by phlox

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