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According to Woodward, the movie depicts a distraught man who is searching for his wife's whereabouts while working hard and alone. He has no idea how she left the hotel as they were taking a shower. The wife of Ford lost her bag earlier, which caused some uncertainty. She vanishes after receiving a call that indicated she would get it shortly, and Ford is unable to find her even after reporting the incident to the American Embassy. The single search ends in Paris clubs and other places where he thinks he could find her, changing the game to a cat and mouse from one location to another amid violence until Ford teams with a young woman who brought the wife’s bag and demanded some pay. From the film and the writing by Woodward, anxiety and desperation fill are dominant. This paper supports the article by Woodward in explaining these issues in the film, stating how the author and directors of the film had integrated real world problems in their messages.
Anxiety in the film begins in the first two instances when Ford arrives in Paris. He is anxious about what happened to the city after they were in the same place twenty years ago for their honeymoon. “Frantic…, a surgeon who comes to Paris for a honeymoon and finds the place has changed since he honeymooned there twenty years ago” (Woodward 21). He worries about the status of the place just before the wife disappears during a shower. Sondra’s bag disappears in the hotel. A phone call takes her out of the shower. The husband cannot get her voice because of the sound of water and cannot find her when he completes his shower. Ford then begins an anxious search that takes him a longer time. “Within an hour of arrival at the hotel, however, Sondra has vanished” (Woodward 21). These issues about the wife keep Ford anxious in the city, as he cannot configure where to find the woman.
Desperation is evident at the onset of the film when the bag disappears, the wife is lost, and the woman who brings the alleged bag needs some cash. Sondra cannot figure out how her bag disappeared. “Amazingly, even desperate details of Polanski’s life are made to jibe with the accepted image” (Woodward 20). The writer's focus is showing the events in the film as they unfolded like the people unable to assist in finding his wife.
Arguments made by the author are on the confusion that Ford encounters. He came expecting the best from Paris and care of his wife, only to meet difficulties. I agree with the author that at such times, these events unfolding in the film raise much emotions and anxiety. Realizing the difference in a place, opposite to the expectations, then losing a wife, whose help in the new location was imminent, is a worrying experience. The man then must turn desperate; realizing that he also has a medical conference to attend.
The author uses suspense in presenting his ideas about the film. He picked the most critical parts that a reader who had no knowledge of the movie could read and has much suspense along. This technique is to invite the reader’s attention to the events of the story to more reading. Most readers enjoy suspense in their reading as it drives them into moving to the next item.
Woodward, Steven. No safe place: Gender and space in Polanski's recent films. 1988.
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