Summary of Ride to the Cemetery - 2004 movie

For those who believe, or want to, that there was more to the story...

Summary of Ride to the Cemetery - 2004 movie

Postby honeyphan » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:42 pm

**Scene summary of Ride to Cemetery**


Paragraph summary: In this epilogue, forty-nine years later, the story comes full circle. As with many movies when it’s the past story of a romance between a couple, they show the movie retelling through a secondary character’s eyes—in this case, a man who also played an important role in the film. Now there is another who is desperate for answers, in need of acceptance, protection, restoration, love, hope, and forgiveness … actually, there are two…and Raoul again takes a trip to the cemetery—again arriving later than planned, as had happened in the main movie when Erik got there first.



A gentleman bidder and his lackey come outside with goods won from auction. The same man in the tophat. Madame Giry walks from beneath a lamppost of five lights with one globe shattered (4—maybe to show Erik was there. Not sure.)

She stops and looks back to the right as if she hears something, but next split-second shot they show Raoul looking at her and her reflection looking at him in the glass. He takes his hat off to her—a sign of honor and respect—and bows his head. She answers with a little inclination of her head—in those gestures it’s as if he’s thanking her for letting him have the music box, and she is acknowledging it. You can see her cross—I think this is the first time they've showed it since movie started--showing that she is for the light. This wasn’t Meg’s cross, and that was Madame Giry and not Meg. Meg’s cross was smaller and not flared at the edges:

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In the car, as it pulls away, the image looks as if it’s a tormented spirit of decay, death—his spirit is weak (symbolism of lameness) and he’s in darkness. This makes sense with all that has gone on in his life. Whether recently or long ago, he has fallen away. They also show a picture of what looks like the statue in Il Muto that pointed out that JB must die. The thing is—technically, these kinds of images shouldn’t be showing, since M. Giry is all that is in the reflection, with the pale walls of opera house behind her. It’s as if they were graphically added.

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In the reflection, as the car turns—in the front windshield they again show the man in the tophat who was smoking a cigar. As the car drives away, suddenly he is there again—the first person shown in the mirror before M. Giry. One sleuther said he also appears at odd points at beginning in a merry go round type of deal. Both reflections are on right side of car.


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Raoul’s eye turns to gold—“eye of gold, true is false”—and immediately we’re taken back to the past showing us that there—true is false. Phantom spirit reigns. Perhaps this also could show that Raoul is now under the phantom's control at this point—he needs help.

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Next b&w shot—Raoul’s car pulls up and stops in a traffic jam. A man in front yells something to car ahead, but it’s not in subtitles so don’t know what it is. Car in front of Raoul shows both driver and his passenger get out to look ahead. A man and woman pass in front of Raoul’s car, and he sees them and is obviously reminded of Christine. He watches them as they walk to the Crystal jeweler’s window and look at items there. In the window, they show a crown, such as a queen would wear (Christine), necklaces, brooches, but nothing that really seems like a wedding ring. They kiss, and Raoul then remembers his kiss with Christine, but it’s in b&w not color. This is the kiss that happened the very second before she broke away and sang to him, “I must go. . .”

Of ALL the kisses they shared on the rooftop, THIS is the one he remembered and the one they picked to show. If he’d had happy memories of a life with Christine, I think he would have remembered one of their other kisses, or maybe when he spun her around. There are a lot of different ones they could have shown. That they chose this one seems to imply Raoul is sadly remembering that time, because from that point of the movie on Christine was always seeking Erik and Raoul came to realize that. At the masquerade she went to Erik, she didn’t wear the ring on her finger and evaded speaking of engagement…next morning, she evaded Raoul and sneaked past him to go to cemetery, etc. That they showed this final kiss right before she broke away makes it look as if this is a hard memory for him, not a pleasant one.

I believe this memory was symbolic—that Raoul remembered this one kiss to show the start of when he knew Christine wasn’t his but belonged to Erik, her Angel, the king (the crown in window right before his b & w memory is a clue to his kingship/her queenship too, I think). And they begin to show her strong ties to Erik more clearly in Masquerade. Also, in his memory, she put her hand up to push against Raoul—to break away from him. Note also her mouth is closed, kissing his upper lip only, as it was throughout these kisses. They were not kisses of passion, but very prim and proper --on her part. See pics:

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After he remembers this flashback he presses his lips together a bit as if it’s not a good memory and it still hurts. I feel this memory was black and white and not color for this reason—

“. . .it is not true, she and you, the carmine (red) and love.” (from Spanish subtitles translations)—it was not true that she and Raoul were lovers—so the red and the colors were not there. (This whole masquerade verse in Spanish looks like Erik talking. Since the masquerade song is all about Erik—HIS song—this makes sense.)

Because the love was not there, the memory was b & w, though in the movie this same scene was in color. It was like a faded photograph of Raoul’s dreams, dreams that didn’t happen. Again, I don’t think he’s thinking of happier times because the kiss they show is right before she broke away from him—and from that point on in movie, all she did was run from him and what he wanted—and run to Erik. If not in her actions, in her words and in her thoughts: for instance--Four red roses in key points of WYWSHA, her overall look as a bride, red book in chapel scene, etc.—(props are placed in scenes for a reason. They are not just there to fill space. And the book or pillow or whatever it was, was hidden beneath her dress.)

The jewels sparkle light--a lead-in to the fireworks of Masquerade.

Next time we see the car, they travel down a road covered with dead leaves. Obviously it is fall/winter. (symbolic of dying/death) One lady found that they show the car from one angle—the back, then the front. You’re led to believe it’s the same car, but it’s not. Here is a shot of both angles. The scenery is the same on both sides—exactly. If this were shot from two different angles, it would be switched. This shows a different car was leaving cemetery before Raoul got there. I believe it was to drop off Erik.

First shot:
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They play the same music as what was in the water-trap scene in DOM, (another pivotal moment in Raoul’s life), and show Raoul’s reflection in the glass as he watches the stag run on the left side of the car. Here is the symbolism I found on the stag:


The power of the symbolism comes from the antlers. Just as the phoenix is the "resurrection bird" because it can rise from its own funeral pyre, so the noble stag is a symbol of regeneration because of the renewal of its antlers.

As J. E. Cirlot writes in A Dictionary of Symbols, "It's symbolic meaning is linked with that of the tree of life … inexhaustible life, and is therefore equivalent to a symbol of immortality … because of the resemblance of its antlers to branches. … Like the eagle and the lion, it is the secular enemy of the serpent … [and acts] as [one of the] mediators of heaven and earth. … In the West, during the Middle Ages, the way of solitude and purity was often symbolized by the stag, which actually appears in some emblems with a crucifix between its horns." It is a symbol for Christ. The stag represents Christ, as a sleuther found—or to fit this into the story—light. It is running toward the cemetery, which is now in full view—but we ONLY see the reflection of the nurse and driver. We don’t see them. . .Some think they may be spirits or angels to help Raoul find the way to the light and lead him on this last journey. Before he can go home, though, he needs to take care of some things.

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They show a fantastic legendary cemetery on the hill ahead. Shafts of light stream from the heavens above and down to it. Also, the road is no longer covered with leaves—in fact, there isn’t one dead leaf anywhere and hasn't been the moment they showed the stag. Instead there is grass—though the trees are bare. Perhaps this sudden absence of the leaves is significant that the dead matter—the darkness in Raoul’s life—will soon be disappearing and he is headed toward the light.

*COMPANION BOOK CLUES*

P. 92 it says this:
RAOUL looks at MME. GIRY leaving the theatre. As his car moves away slowly, they both look to each other--tow old friends that have shared many dark secrets--who know they will probably never see each other again.

My thoughts: This makes it look as if Raoul is about to die. Dark secrets--the Phantom spirit, etc.

Companion book says this and has these words capped and underlined:

Raoul, still in his car, breaks from his reverie to see his destination. His POV in the distance, A LEGENDARY OLD CEMETERY, in the fading light. HAUNTING MUSIC BEGINS as we dissolve to:

167. INT. BALLET DORMITORY—1870—DAWN

AS THE FIRST RAY OF DAWN comes through CHRISTINE’S transom window. CHRISTINE, in a robe, not having slept all night, makes a decision.


I believe they capped and underlined Legendary Cemetery, because of what those statues symbolized. The way they underlined and capped "As the first ray of dawn," and the way they formed this sentence, almost makes it look as if it dawn is a being, not a thing.

It also says this:

RAOUL remembers his own young love as the couple moves along, revealing a dazzling display of expensive jewels. (the way this is worded, it is as if he is remembering a longago love, not one he had with Christine for years as her husband.)

and this in an interview:

P. 56-- under the heading of Production & Set Design:


...Most of the film is set in that period, but the screenplay actually begins and ends in 1919, when Raoul is an older man and returns to Paris and to the opera house. "We had to create several worlds on film," says Schumacher, "but fundamentally it can be divded into two different time periods. The world of 1919 is quite gritty and quite real, but it is still a fantasy. The 1870 period is a memory of a very romantic time lost to this old man, so that gives it a licence to be very romantic."...

What I find interesting was his words--a memory of a very romantic time LOST to this old man...to me those words are also telling. He lost; he did not gain the woman he loved.

The part of several worlds is also interesting.
Not two worlds--1870 and 1919--but several worlds, which implies more than two or even three...such as a phantom spirit world (the Abyssal zone talked about in PONR summary), a kingdom of music, etc


The Final Scene - click to read

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Image E/C manip made by me
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