The dialogue between Estefania and Severin is incompatible. He has no understanding of her true state, of her expression and her language and what she says actually means and how it makes sense to her. She blasts out her thoughts against a wall that doesn’t react, doesn’t make a sound, and can say nothing in response. Severin remains still and silent, everything collapses. Estefania contaminates everyone with her pain that she herself can neither comprehend nor mend.
Severin tries to keep a family together that is already broken to start with and poisons himself with his constant composure and neutrality. Estefania doesn’t encounter a resistance worthy of her. Her doom and fluctuation. Severin lost Estefania in the ultimate projection he nurtured of her. She let herself be recreated by his artistry and what erupted went unseen by him leading to the demise of their relationship.
The images of her. The voices. She doesn’t know where to go. And with whom. Something has been decided for her, against her. And she needs to hold out. She brought it into her own home. The paravent. The daughters. Checkmating her without batting an eye.
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“Selbstbildnis mit dem fiedelnden Tod” by Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901)