Of Movies and Memory Gaps

Over lunch the other day, movies came up during conversation. Anytime anyone brings up the subject, I light up like a bulb and get all excited, particularly when the other person shares the same taste as I do or at least familiar with a wide range of titles.

I was asked a very simple question, which to my surprise, I found hard to answer: “So what are your favorite movies?” I immediately replied, “It’s difficult to choose just one.” Understandably, the next question was, “What are some of your favorites then?” That didn’t make it any easier. I’ve been backed into a corner and left with no recourse but to rack my brains for answers. It took me a couple of minutes to jog my memory and pry a few.

A couple of days later, the question still simmered in my mind. It was really very surprising to me that I could not as easily name the films that I’ve adorned for years. Movies to me are a source of joy that keeps on giving. I love stories, and film is one of my favorite media. Countless days and nights I’ve spent on equally countless features. There were years when the rooster’s crowing (the family across the street likes to keep cocks) was the only thing that could make me turn off the computer and remind me that I have to be at work in a couple of hours. As a kid, I could memorise the dialogue after the first viewing. In short, it’s been a life-long affair.

I took a trip down memory lane last night to reacquaint myself with some old faves, and my, was it nice to see them again. Here are five loves of many:

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I have not paid as much attention to movies in the past couple of years, which truthfully is why it took me only forever to recall my favorites. Maybe one of these days, I’d find the time to sit down and talk about each in detail. For now, I’ll end this by introducing a new favorite, The Handmaiden by Park Chan Wook. I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon this jewel of a flick. No, it’s not for everyone. But man, is it dizzyingly lovely.

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Empire State of Mind

Originally written November 25, 2012

When Harry Met Sally. Sleepless in Seattle. While You Were Sleeping. If I learned anything from watching romantic comedies, it’s that these fairytales are just that, tales — tales spun by dreamers who sprinkle them with pixie dust and cast them off with the wind, waiting to fall on the shoulder of a young woman, who then hears a faint but distinct whisper that tells her to polish off the dusty dream of her very own Happily Ever After.

Sally hated Harry. No love at first sight there. Sam lost his wife. Annie and Walter were two rights that make a wrong. And Lucy? Why, she fell in love with the wrong brother.

Funny that I am writing this as I sit inside a plane. I realized after my first full viewing of Sleepless and a little bit of An Affair to Remember too in a sense, that I have been to New York City, but I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building. Maybe there’s a reason I have not felt compelled to visit the well-known landmark. Maybe on the day that I finally make my way up to the top, there he will be, waiting. And we’ll look into each other’s eyes and really see each other for the first time. He’ll take my hand, and as we touch, there it is. Magic.

Or not. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks can keep their scene to themselves, thank you very much.

Far from illustrating ideals that women (and men) should aspire to, rom-coms tend to propagate unrealistic and fantastic archetypes and expectations. No one should have to compete with those adorably flawed and perfectly imperfect creatures. Real life has already given us more than enough stuff to deal with.

So what exactly am I taking away from all these gooey, over-sentimental big screen romps? Why am I writing this with my heart still recovering from the meltdown wrought by that particularly stirring closing scene? (Really, I am not kidding! I am still entranced by its ending. It’s probably one of the cheesiest scenes I have ever seen in my life. And that ‘magic’ bit is so unbearably corny! But. I. Just. Can’t. Help. It… So sue me.) I am simply reminded of my belief that everyone is entitled to his or her own fairytale. It doesn’t have an expiry date, nor does it have to – how I hope not – adhere to Hollywood formula. Life is not like in the movies, and that is absolutely fine. We all think we know that, but a little reminding once in a while won’t hurt. I prefer mine to be written with my own hand anyway. A clumsy, somewhat naïve writer though I am.

Tschüs!

PS

I still have so many things from 2012 to tell you! This is my first step to conquering my blogging backlog. I will start gnawing away at it again soon!

What the Doll Taught Me

Something reminded me of Claudia, the little girl vampire, earlier today. Interview with the Vampire was one of my favorite movies growing up. It was released when I was seven years old, and I probably saw it a year or two later. I remember watching it with utmost curiosity. Vampires are fascinating creatures, but what truly piqued my interest was the bond between the three main characters. I was too young to appreciate the complexities between two grown men and a pubescent girl living together, but I knew that what was unfolding before me was different and intriguing. I wondered why they did what they did and said what they said. This was before I fully understood the words ‘intention’ and ‘meaning’, and some others in this paragraph.

My apologies. I couldn’t find any other video. 😦

The scene shown (or not shown) above really stuck with me. Watching Claudia chop off her tresses was riveting, but it did not prepare me for what was to happen next. Seeing her long, golden locks grow back in an instant would have to be one of the biggest shocks of my life at the time. Her failure to take possession of her own body wrought confusion and summoned a display of such intense anger, which I didn’t realize children have the capacity for. Then again, she was not a child, and yet she was. Claudia showed me how frustration felt like, without teaching me the word for it.

It’s only fair to assume that everyone has something about themselves that they would prefer to be otherwise. It can be physical, material, intellectual, or whatever. As Claudia’s bad hair day illustrates, some things don’t change; they just are. All you can do is to play well and make the most of the hand you’re dealt.

Some people would love to be a child forever, while others can’t wait to get older. The lesson of the story: You simply can’t have everything.

And that’s not necessarily bad.

Tschüs!