Saturday, 17 April 2010


Warded off by cautions about a spread of icebergs in the Atlantic, trader Jacques Trévoux postpones his upcoming trip to the States. The ship he is to travel on is of course the ill-fated Titanic, described in the film as a ‘masterpiece of modern naval engineering’. His wife later consults a palmreader who predicts that a tragedy will befall someone close to her. Keeping this knowledge to herself, she kisses Jacques goodbye as he heads out to the ship, left at home with only her son and godfather for company. When news reaches her of the tragedy, she feels guilt not only for neglecting to warn her husband, but also for her son’s rapidly declining health which is attributed to his grief.

Although not the first Titanic film (Étienne Arnaud’s Saved From The Titanic has that honour, being released just a month after the accident), The Obsession presents an interesting version of events, focusing more on the loved ones left behind than the cataclysmic events on board. Mrs. Trévoux’s concern for her husband’s wellbeing is the obsession of the title, beautifully epitomised by a scene where she stares at a light beaming from the Eiffel Tower, which she takes as an omen. The film’s main drawback is its use of a model boat for scenes showing the Titanic at night, an understandable technological constraint. These short sequences keep a distance between the drama conveyed through the telegrams and the real event, but it isn’t distracting enough to dampen the emotions.

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