12
votes

So I remember seeing part of a relatively old (think 1960s/1970s or so) British movie that definitely felt fairly experimental/avant-garde. It had a storyline, but many of its plot-points seemed intentionally weird and/or random. From what I can remember...

  • The main character is a young woman who is either a nurse or a receptionist (I think a nurse). Either way, I seem to recall that she works in a hospital.
  • The movie starts off with a shot of the main character walking down the sidewalk, being very careful not to step on any cracks. (I think the camera lingers a long time on just her feet, without showing the rest of her.)
  • At some point, she goes to visit some sort of psychic, and gets tea
    leaves read at the psychic's dining room table. Said psychic has an
    adult son (at least, one assumes he's her son) who seems to have a
    mental/learning disability, though it's never really addressed
    outright. The son keeps interrupting the psychic, who kind of just shoos him away.
  • The psychic eventually tells the protagonist that she's destined to marry/fall in love with a man "with a question mark on his face." (Both the psychic and the young woman are puzzled by this prediction.)
  • The protagonist eventually discovers the meaning of the tea leaf reading when she sees her coworker's boyfriend/fiancé, who has a mole on his forehead that - when combined with a curl of hair that falls out of place - looks like a question mark.
  • Protagonist eventually manages to get her coworker's fiancé alone in a parking lot, and they end up making out. She explains her visit with the psychic to him, and he decides that they are destined for each other. He presumably breaks up with his current fiancée, but the movie kind of brushes over most of what goes on between "parking lot make-out session" and this guy marrying the protagonist. Suffice to say, the protagonist and the "man with a question mark on his face" end up getting married.
  • So, now the two of them are married and living together, and at some point, the husband and a neighbor (or coworker/friend?) plant a tree in the couple's yard. (I think they may have found a sapling growing in a crack of the driveway and decided to transplant it? Either that, or maybe they decided to plant it in the driveway, which would've been weird. But this movie was pretty weird overall, so I wouldn't be surprised.)
  • For whatever reason the protagonist really didn't want them to plant the tree, but couldn't convince them to not plant it. (Something to do with an irrational fear.)
  • The night after the tree is planted, the main character has a dream that involves the tree growing giant roots and it somehow endangering her and her husband - I don't remember exactly how, but I remember it being particularly strange. Like, roots growing up into a closet of the house or something.

Unfortunately, that's about all I remember of the actual storyline. I do recall it being a Criterion Collection film, but when I search the Criterion Collection website, I can't seem to find anything with a description that matches my recollection of this film. Does anybody know of a film that fits this description? (I might be misremembering a couple of things, so I would certainly welcome anybody who has an answer that's close to what I've described, even if it's not an exact match.)

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  • 2
    "that's about all I remember" Oh, that's it, then? ;) +1 – Walt Feb 4 '16 at 5:43
8
votes

Jane Campion's Sweetie from 1989.

Explores sisters, in their twenties, their parents, and family dysfunctions. Kay is gangly and slightly askew, consulting a fortune teller and then falling in love with a man because of a mole on his face and a lock of hair; then, falling out of love when he plants a tree in their yard. Sweetie is plump, imperious, self-centered, and seriously mentally ill. The parents see none of the illness, seeing only their cute child. Kay mainly feels exasperation at her sister's impositions. Slowly, the film exposes how the roots of Sweetie's illness have choked Kay's own development. Can she be released?

Here's the trailer (where you can some of the bits you've mentioned, like her trying to avoid the cracks as she walks and the parking lot make out session):

  • This is it! I was literally debating whether I should add that I thought "sweet" was somehow part of the name, but I managed to convince myself that I was just imagining that bit. Thanks! – ghostdog Feb 4 '16 at 5:48
  • 1
    No problem, good memory. I only vaguely remembered it myself. – Walt Feb 4 '16 at 5:54
  • Especially appreciated/impressive from you, though, considering that I got both the decade and the island wrong - it's from New Zealand in the 1980s, not 1970s UK, like I thought. – ghostdog Feb 4 '16 at 6:34

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