The Unbearable Lightness of Being - It is Better to Carry a Heavy Load
"Is it better to carry a heavy load on your shoulders, or cope with the unbearable lightness of being?"
Phillip Kaufman coupled brilliant film techniques with wonderful acting to put together the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being based off of Milan Kundera's novel of the same title. The film is set in Prague during the spring of 1968. At this time the Russians are still trying to exercise their communist control over Czechoslovakia, and Prague is a city filled with political uprisings and violent outbursts from the Czech people. Within the movie and the plot, Kaufman and Kundera want to help us answer the question, "is it better to carry a heavy load on your shoulders, or cope with the unbearable lightness of being?" The answer comes to us through watching the love triangle that is built around Sabina, Tereza, and Tomas. Sabina is our example of the individual who would rather cope with the unbearable lightness of being than deal with all of the maladies of everyday life. Tereza on the other hand fully accepts the world around her, whether it is pleasant or not. The movie uses their artwork, their concern for political issues, and their relationships with Thomas to contrast Sabina and Tereza.
Sabina represents the individual who would rather ignore reality and cope with the wonderful delusion that replaces it. Her relationship with Tomas is the first example we are presented of Sabina's inclination to avoid the truth. In the beginning of the film Tomas is shown to be what we would call a player. The very first scene of the film is of him leaving his doctoral responsibilities to join one of his nurses in the doctors' quarters to have sex. It is obvious, that although he has an intimate physical relationship with this nurse, it does not extend beyond that. After this first escapade we see Tomas go to Sabina. In her room filled with mirrors and abstract art. Multiple scenes take place in Sabina's isolated bedroom. In fact hardly ever, do we see Sabina and Tomas together outside of Sabina's apartment. Their love is contained with the walls of her apartment. Kundera and Kauffman use this to illustrate how Sabina wants to protect their relationship from the outside world and reality.
From the beginning Kaufman and Kundera illustrate for us that there is a mutual understanding between Tomas and Sabina. She recognizes and accepts his playful and wandering heart. It is obvious through her emotional and physical confidence that she knows Tomas sleeps with other women, but she does not care. This confidence is presented to us in the love scenes between Sabina and Tomas. With her erotic hat, kinky mirrors, and playful love making, back grounded by the up beat music, we are lead to believe that Sabina is as laid back about her love life as Tomas is.
Sabina's care free attitude and confidence is reinforced throughout the movie. Sabina is the first person that...