It Felt Good To Have This Pain

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It Felt Good To Have This Pain is a supernatural drama made up of lyrical and cryptic sequences that depict an emotionally tortuous relationship between two young women. One girl (Olivia) is confident and conventionally attractive, who at first appears to see their relationship as solely platonic. The second (June) is more socially introverted, less confident and exhibits more of an emotional/sexual attachment to the relationship.

It is a symbolic and poetically atmospheric story about unrequited love that leans back and forth from the existential to the supernatural. However there is not much that could be said about the narrative without giving too much away. The story is minimal yet extremely intrinsic to its philosophical purpose. The dialogue in the film often develops into monologue, where existentialist themes surrounding death and purpose are reflected upon. It is done in such a way it occasionally reminded me of Ingmar Bergman’s mid – later films (Persona and From The Life Of The Marionettes more specifically). Elliptical in both its narrative structure and editing techniques, the film develops almost like distant recollections; short, vague and lyrical snapshots that are lost in time and memory.

I could be wrong but it seems evident the director worked with the actors on the development of their characterisations, which explains the beautiful nuances in their performances and dialogue. Everything felt like it came from the characters, it never seemed like these girls were victims of the world, only of themselves. A key scene for me was when the two girls are chatting whilst laying down together; the scene is laced with brief images of them cavorting around what seems to be a park. Olivia reflects on a relationship she had with a young German boy when she was at school, the boy was rejected by the other children because of his accent, but she became close to him. Showing she may have a tendency to connect with those that the world rejects, possibly explaining her attraction to the introverted and socially inept June.

Despite the film ending in what initially appears to be an overly melodramatic finale, it soon becomes a subtle and moving reunion that concludes the film effectively. The two characters are complex and so too is their relationship. The director’s ambiguous and poetic techniques depict this beautifully. It Felt Good To Have This Pain requires repeated viewing to fully appreciate its intricacies, but it is well worth it.

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