Alas, covetousness beyond its mean, the greedy fool counts his chickens before they hatch, lo and behold, a bird of paradise, her goodness gleams virtuousness within its kind, the young innocent lass counts her blessings from the pleasure of the "chicken that sees."
In keeping up with the Joneses, a much too ambitious son improperly schedules a meeting with a loan officer, and surreptitiously creates an unwinding helter-skelter that spooks his mother and hastens her death. In the aftermath, he makes a phone call to the notary, only to find out that he has been left out of her will, for circumstances has it that, against old-time tradition, her richest legacy goes to his goodhearted and gentile sibling, a deaf mute sister.
A distress mother finds out too late that her eldest son plotted against the business interests of her family, for he scheduled an impromptu meeting with a lender from an outside agency, which upsets her plans for negotiations at a local bank. A “big shot” before his time, he believes that rapid technological progress is the answer to their poor earnings and to secure a loan, he promises the lender control of the quarry's accounts, if contractual obligations are not met.
Even after defensive spending measures were established and made clear to him by his father, the power hungry son still conspired to take control of the company. He throws cautious aside and decides to gamble on his mother’s good will to help him become “top dog” in the industry. His ambitious endeavors have forced his distraught mother to act in haste and to keep up with social appearances.
Frenzied, the desperate house wife rushes to the quarry to get her husband, for she needs help to plaster the walls of their unfinished house and save the facade of its collateral value, before next week’s visit from the bank. Unfortunately, she falls into the pit, aggravates her weak heart and dies. Yet, the property matriarch still saves the family from any embarrassment, for she goes against tradition and wills the property to her deaf mute daughter, whom, as an innocent child, always played with the wooden rooster atop her Papa’s bureau; what folks called the “chicken that sees.”
A distress mother finds out too late that her eldest son plotted against the business interests of her family, for he has already scheduled an impromptu meeting with a lender from an outside agency. His devious actions upset her proper and thoughtful plans, for future negotiations with one of the local bank near their home. A “big shot” before his time, he believes that rapid technological progress is the answer to their poor quarterly earnings and to securing a renovation loan, he promises the unscrupulous lender full collateral with his family's property, as well as complete control through the power of attorney, concerning the newly formed accounts tied to this loan, if contractual obligations are not met. Indeed, it is already to later because he has already begun negotiations for the rapid release of large sums of cash, doing so without the permission of his parents. Even after an emergency meeting with all the corporate board officers, to discuss the legitimate concerns about the continued financing of their company, when cautionary decisions were made to stabilize its negative cash flow, from which defensive spending measures were established and made clear to him by his father, the power hungry son still conspired to take control of the company. First, he ignored his father’s most direct warning: “Not to renovate their mining facilities at the quarry, at least not during a time of high interest loans.” Then, fully disregarding his old man’s wisdom about rushing into deals with total strangers, even less, his parents’ conservative views that it is bad to get indebted to any bank, the greedy son throws cautious aside and decides to gamble on his mother’s good heart and her willingness to help him reach his goal, which is to become the “top dog” in the mining industry. Cunningly, the son's sudden takeover of the family company destabilizes his mother's honest dealings with her community bank. His ambitious endeavors have forced his distraught mother to act in haste, as she tries to keep up with social appearances. Frenzied into a state of helter-skelter, the desperate house wife rushes to the quarry to get her husband, for she needs help to plaster the walls of their unfinished house and save the social face of her family's good standing within the community, as well as their house's high collateral value as it regards the bank, before next week’s visit by the loan officer. Unfortunately, as fate has it, she falls into the pit, aggravates her weak heart and dies. Yet, the property matriarch still saves the family from any embarrassment, foreseeing the deadly sin of avarice that, like a cancer, grows and spreads its evil roots, deeper and deeper into the heart of her shameful son, the good mother aptly goes against tradition and wills the whole property to her deaf mute daughter whom, as an innocent young child, always wanted to play with the old worn out, wooden rooster atop her Papa’s bureau, what the good folks called the “chicken that sees.”
COMMENTARY NOTES ABOUT MAMA'S WILL:
The lengthy process of scriptwriting is an invaluable experience because it allows for an in depth probing of the mind. Hence, the famous quote: "To live is to war with trolls in the vaults of the heart and the brain. To write, that is to sit in judgment over one's self," a remark made by Ibsen to Ludwig Passarge about publishing the dramatic poem, Peer Gynt. This remark is the emblem of learning process that represents the cost and reward of doing business in the fields of writing, directing, and producing of a movie such as Mama’s Will. The moral of this argument is that without an intensive period of writing, no finely done movie is possible, because it takes time to exhaust the possibilities of cause and effect, to wrench out the trolls from the vaults of our heart and mind, to arrive at the absolute moral premise, which is a wonderful task that is nearly impossible to achieve, ideally speaking.
The breakthrough in the script came less than twenty four months ago (circa 2008), when it was decided to investigate the story, named As I Lay Dying, written by the famed William Faulkner. Moreover, something belonging to “old-fashion” funeral rites reigned true in Faulkner’s story, triggering real memories of forgotten inheritance disputes, which had occurred in the distant past, within my own family, and in other families, too.
I can still feel that jubilation when I had that “eureka” experience, knowingly that true stoke of genius. Truly, what we produced inside the corps of Mama’s Will is a testimonial to that “eureka” moment, speaking at least, in terms of its social criticism of the North America personality of your average business man or woman, and addressing more or less, the universal meaning of equality, justice, and morality among people.
There’s no doubt that the movie carries a strong moral story, for if members of a family cannot get along with each other, at least long enough to bury one of its dead, then what the hell does heaven have to do with graceful possibilities of hope for our world, when people in it have the collective tasks to repeatedly continue to bury its millions and millions of dead?
Tellingly, Mama’s Will, short as it is, but no less effective, exists in an equivalent class of moral power tales. Simply put, it is a moral story, for it emulates the myth forming poetry of Ibsen’s fairytale play, Peer Gynt: A dramatic poem.
It does so by creating an envelop of mystery around the character of the daughter, Jennie Gatlin; for by the end of the movie, we realize that she is a totally different make of character, as compared to the others spanning the breadth of our story. Jennie is more sublime and, above all, unknowable. She is the partial inversion of the pictorial maxim, most famously called “Three Wise Monkeys.” She represents two of the pictograms, “hear no evil” and “speak no evil” and inverts the other, “see no evil.”
Indeed, Jennie is not like any other characters in the movie. Her most kind and gentle demeanor makes her character soar within the dramatic space, like that of a heavenly bird, flying high above all mundane pursuits of greedy pettiness, which make up our earthly pit of snakes, to put it crudely. The character of Jennie Gatlin dramatically exists to represent nature’s power to renew itself, an allusion to the mythical bird, known as the “phoenix.”
And in a final note, if Jennie does have recognizable “avian” characteristics then, truly, within the death bed scene of her mother Beatrice, in which we can recognize the same scene, referring to the death of Anse in Peer Gynt, it is interesting to remark that certain aspects of Ibsen’s dramatic works do have 'avian' characteristics, too.
Lastly, Jennie’s ritual washing of the dead body of her Mom, Beatrice Gatlin, seems to partially invert the Virgin Mary’s cradling the dead body of Jesus, making the action highly spiritual, if not religious. Hence, Mama's Will is not just a moral story, but a spiritual one too; because in the story of Jesus, we also find 'avian' symbolism at work in the telling of the story, as the chicken rooster crows three times, yet, Apostle Peter repeatedly denies ever knowing his master and friend, Jesus, which signals the contradiction of the eternal return, the cyclic renewal and rebuilding from the sacred ashes of the spiritual fire.
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