Jocelyn Moorhouse debuted with Proof (1991), a dark drama of
three complementary characters, one a blind man, one a housekeeper who takes
care of the blind man in return for sexual fantasizing, and an ordinary man
who simply needs a friend.
Martin is a contemptuous blind man, whose only friend is his housekeeper Celia.
Martin's passtime is to take photographs, and Celia volunteers to tell him
what he has photographed, but it sounds like he doesn't trust her anymore.
One day Martin meets Andy, a dishwasher in a restaurant, and hires him
as a trusted source to describe the photographs.
A flashback shows how, as a child, Martin was lied by his mother about what was
out there in the world.
Martin and Andy become close friends after they spend an evening at a
drive-in movie theater, get involved in a browl and get arrested by the police.
Martin tells Andy how his mother used to lie to him.
Martin has only one way to know what he has photographed: to ask people to
describe his photos. He tests the accuracy of their descriptions to assess
if he can trust them. Needless to say, most of his photos are of random
subjects, mostly unfocused and rarely centered on one object.
somehow he has decided to trust Andy. Instead, Andy has already lied about
one thing: when Martin asked him to describe Celia, Andy told him (for no
apparent reason) that she has blue eyes.
Martin tells Andy about Celia.
He knows that she desires him but he shuns her because he feels that, as long
as she doesn't have him, she will not pity him, he will pity her.
Celia senses that there is something
new in Martin's life. She uses fragments of photographs to reconstruct how
Andy looks like. When the two meet, there is immediately tension between
them: Celia is clearly jealous of him.
Martin's dog Bill has a tendency to disappear for a few minutes. Martin is
puzzled. One day Martin he takes a lot of pictures while Bill is gone to
find out what happens. Andy is there but Martin does not know it. Andy
sees what happens: Celia calls the dog and keeps it for a while.
Celia is home when Martin asks Andy to check the photographs and see
what happened when Bill was not obeying his call. Andy sees both himself
and Celia in the pictures, but lies to Martin.
Celia is clearly obsessed with Martin. She takes a picture of him in the
bathrooms and blackmails him: she wants his company for just one night.
They go to the symphony hall and then, back home, she tries to have sex with
him. She knows he is still a virgin. He almost loses control, but then stops
in time and runs away scared. She resents most that she is like a wife to him
but he does not trust her, he trusts Andy better.
Next, Celia tries to seduce Andy.
Celia is jealous and uses her sexuality to separate the two.
For good measure, she sticks the photograph of Bill in the park into the
collar of the dog. When the veterinarian finds it, Martin asks him to
describe it, and then he learns that both Celia and Andy were in the park
when they were not supposed to be there. Now he knows that not only Celia
but even Andy cannot be trusted. He walks back home only to realize that
they are both in the house and, even if he cannot see them making love,
he can guess the ultimate betrayal.
Celia takes Andy to her house, and Andy realizes that it is one giant
shrine to Martin. Andy walks out terrified. The following day Celia
goes back to clean Martin's house as if nothing happened, but instead
Martin fires her.
Andy asks Martin to forgive him. Martin gives him the final test: the
photograph taken when he was a child of the landscape that Martin always
thought had no man raking the leaves, despite what his mother always told him.
Andy tells him that there is indeed a man raking the leaves.
Martin realizes that his mother never lied to him. Martin forgives Andy.
How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and
the adaptation of A Thousand Acres (1997)