Life is just plain?

Dear L,

it’s cloudy today and it was my day off. My day off on a Sunday. I hardly ever can get a day off on a Sunday, and maybe it’s the weather, but it saddened me that I didn’t do anything useful today. However, I mean, what is really a useful day?

I’ve had sex. I cooked soup. I’ve watched a movie. And I started wondering if a bunch of other people in L.A. (or any other place of the world, for that matter) also have a bunch of days like this, when you just do nothing and you kind of feel that you’ve wasted time, that you should be doing something important? Well, sure, everybody needs some time off once in a while. Not everyday can be a great day, a day you thought you contributed to the world or things of the like.

Then I wondered what could make me feel less “empty” (is that one of those times people want to get pregnant and have babies? or take a stupid decision in their lives, for the wrong reasons?). Perhaps I should really try to study over the week, learn an instrument (write songs would really make me feel good, I guess), try to go back to that stupid idea of writing a script. Not because I need it, I mean, not because I need money, or recognition or anything, just for the feeling of writing, just because it would be something I’d enjoy. How about it? I’ve spent lots of days off this year only watching a series or movies, and by the end of the day I still was not happy nor motivated. I know I have to deal with my everyday life, of a job I no longer enjoy or even like (only to think that tomorrow I have to be up in the morning and go to work already makes me sad), and the rest is just plain. There is my family and I feel I don’t have many friends (in fact, at this point of my life I find myself feeling I have no friends at all). There is my boyfriend. And it’s ok.

Should it be just like that? Now I’m thinking. Maybe I’m wanting too much for wanting something extra, something special, something I don’t even know. But maybe life is just like this, and I should just be glad and stop wanting to quit my job or having doubts about this guy being really the right one for me. Maybe I should just accept it, there is nothing more, there is nothing else. Life is just this really.

I know I’m 34 and it’s time to settle down. Stop these crazy dreams of traveling around the world, just work and deal with it because any work will be hard. Can I? I’ve never been like that. I’ve always went for what I wanted. But what is it really that I want now? I could actually be working only to save money to buy a house. But I can’t do this in this line of work I’m on now, and I don’t want to continue in this current work anymore. Well, at least I know what I do not want, right?

 

Radio dreams

(2016) **

The Tiger award for the Rotterdam International Film Festival, I was actually misled by its synopsis. I believed that it was a movie about rock, as the story is about a radio located in San Francisco trying to have a meeting between Metallica and the first Afghanistan rock band, Kabul Dreams. Well, it’s so much so.

It’s more about the struggle of this writer who kind of directs the radio shows and, to me, basically about frustrations. The guy seems to have a special interest in art, poetry, and to always feel uncomprehended by people around. There’s this really involving scene of a lady who works for the radio telling a story of a city narrowed by water and she is emotional – only to be cut by the annoying tones of the jingle for commercial ads.

Although it’s funny to watch his disbelief knowing that Miss Iran USA talent is actually poetry, or to see a young man who was supposed to sing a Russian song being lured to wrestling by the radio’s owner, I just missed more of rock. Perhaps it’s really the feeling that they wanted us the public to have, after all. We follow the growing expectation at the radio station and by the Afghan rock band, only to have a brief moment of hearing their music (however funny was the little drummer boy’s energy), followed by an excited Lars Ulrich. How had that encounter been, really? The writer with crazy hair of a opera conductor misses it, and we too. We miss some great moments to the banality of reality, like a suicide on to jump by a famous bridge is so banal that only deserves to hear a pop soda can being open.

But one great moment to my opinion is the song played simply, on acoustic guitar, by the character or Reza. Maybe the true unmissable moments lie in simplicity, maybe of someone around us, maybe we should really value more these small moments instead of waiting for a big one? Just maybe.

 

Ascent

(2016) ***

Fiona Tan was nominated for the Rotterdam Film Festival for “History’s Future”. I’m not sure how did she manage to release two docs at the same year (in fact I can imagine, since they are different processes) but I went and watched this session that is closer to my workplace – and the theme that is closer to my life. For the basis of this film, she gathered about 4,500 pictures of the Mount Fuji in Japan, of over 150 years of history.

Though I thought it felt too long (maybe due to the very nature of the project, since her motion pictures are more pictures than motion) I actually enjoyed the feeling of being transported by these means of capturing time that is photography and let myself really imagine climbing up that Fuji mountain while thinking of the many stories told, including old tales of princesses and a monk who died of fasting, or the old times during war and the beginning of photos in Japan. It’s funny how sometimes our eyes let themselves be deceived and we have the impression to be seing the image move, when it is in fact not so, and to notice how the narration adds to the pictures being displayed instead of simply throwing philosophies at us but trying to make links.

I’ve loved to imagine the clouds at the top of the mountain as the smoke from burnt letters, to feel like I was there at the top watching the sun come up, to remember spring times and think of the passing of time, to be surprised by black and white photos that reminded me of “Hiroshima, mon amour” (1959)**** only to the next second starting hearing a piece of its dialogue, to know more about how Godzilla was not just a toy.

“the essence of the flower is to fall”

Like the buddhist saying that nothing is permanent, all life is destined to change and to an end at some time, however the mountain seems the same, so many have been up and down, someone’s time had been up and down… But there is also beauty in it, right?

 

L’atalante

20161025-vaomasp
So I had a pretty busy weekend and only by Sunday I’ve realized that the São Paulo International Film Festival had started out. Years before, there were times when I was so excited about the festival, taking days off to spend the whole day in theaters, running from one session to another, cracking up my head to work out a schedule where I could watch all the movies that interested me. Well, sure, as I no longer believe I will ever do movies in this lifetime of mine, that kind of crazyness about movies no longer inhabits me.

However, every year, at least one night, I go to this session that happens under MASP (São Paulo’s Art Museum) and it’s pretty cool. I don’t know, just the thought that you’ve taken a break in the middle of São Paulo’s chaos to allow yourself in the contemplation of some other life than your own, just a story, just an inspiring image, like this magical moment while everything around seems to be only busy, busy, buzz and squeezy.

This year, as I have suffered many times before from the winds of this open air-current space turned into a movie session, I was prepared to not be cold and well muffled. Had a sandwich before and green tea of muscat flavor (?) and enjoyed myself to L’atalante (1934) ***. The storyline is pretty simple, there is this girl who marries a mariner, decides to go out and see the city and they both miss each other. Ok, there is also this old tar, this simple, drunk old man who collects pretty items in his cabin and makes music, finds the girl back. But basically that’s it, and yet the movie still lives on and it’s regarded as one of the best in cinema history.

I was actually surprised to find out that besides some daring scenes that marks a new moment for French cinema, this was also the one and only single film by a young Jean Vigo, who would die at age 29. Some companies used cut versions of the movie for quite a while, but there is a certain intriguing aspect about how was the vision of this filmmaker – and wow, what was that man licking a rock of ice?

Among showing unemployed men on line, a bunch of cats and a funny character trying to sell scarfs, dancing with the lady and playing one-man-band, we can get a more “real” feeling of the simple life and yet have a sense of magic, like the story of diving the head into the water, and the mariner really diving deep to be able to see his love. And not even today they can make an erotic scene so pure (and with no nude, to note), with them two apart, but together onscreen, sharing the same feeling of desire and longing.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all become simple friends like Juliette and père Jules do, and if there was less pride and jealousy (it’s only human emotion, you all) so one can not be afflicted anymore, just rest in love?