As younger single people, we tend to have fixed ideas of what relationships should be like. Heavy repercussions (even break ups) for infractions like lying or infidelity seem natural, if not common sense. It’s not until we’re deeply in love and truly invested in a long-term partnership that we’re faced with difficult choices about the people we love, and find ourselves making compromises that we never thought we’d have to make and, moreover, never thought we’d want to make.
[The And] Marcela & Rock is a short documentary by Santa Monica-born and Brooklyn-based filmmaker Topaz Adizes that uses the ampersand as a symbol and point of entry into the tangled and thorny threads that keep two people together. The film is part of a larger interactive work that lives at theand.us, where Adizes has captured the inner-workings of not just Marcela and Rock but 30 couples of varying ages, sexual orientations, and cultural and racial backgrounds.
The set-up is simple: three cameras are placed around the circumference of the couple. The perspectives represent a medium shot and two over-the-shoulders. The frame includes these perspectives in either split-screen or triptych. Since the shots share the frame, we’re able to see both partners as one confides in the other. Similar to a late night drinking game, they are presented a stack of index cards that contain a series of forthright and penetrating questions. Their candid responses to prompts like, “Am I the best sex you’ve ever had?” and “What are you scared to tell me?” allow immediate intimacy and a view into love stories full of missteps, heartbreaks, forgiveness, and rebirths.
Difficult roadblocks like prison have challenged Marcela and Rock’s relationship. They met over 20 years ago and have been married for seven. Throughout Rock’s brushes with law, Marcela has been the backbone of his support system and one that now even includes a family, something that neither one of them thought they would one day have.
[The And] Marcela & Rock was part of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival as well as the The New Yorker video series The Screening Room. Adizes’s earlier films include Boy, which was selected for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and the 2010 Sundance selection Laredo, Texas.