Gloomy January with its dark cloudy skies and constant downpours made me retreated into my comfy bed, entertaining myself with a bunch of blankets, pillows, cups and cups of hot chocolate and a stack of DVDs. These are some of the movies I would put under my movie selection post this month. I’d call it Raining Romance.
1. Two Lovers
After hailing this movie as one of my all-time favorite, I found out later on that it was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s short story White Nights. And I said to myself, oh, no wonder. It’s a lonely story about Leonard, a guy with a suicidal tendency who falls for his neighbor, Michelle. Everything about this movie is lonely. From the gloomy opening act to the photographs Leonard are taking, the scene at the club where Leonard goes out dancing with Michelle and her friends. I love it when Sandra, a daughter of a family friend, comes along to Leonard’s life. I love it when Michelle’s boyfriend, who happens to be someone else’s husband, talks to Leonard at a restaurant. I adore the twists and turns a little bit too much.
I love Gus van Sant. I love reading his interviews. I love books and movies with misfit characters. I guess those are enough reasons for me to love this movie. It’s about a teenage boy, Enoch, who loves going to strangers’ funerals and befriends Hiroshi, a dead Japanese kamikaze pilot from World War II. On one of the funerals, Enoch meets a curious girl, Annabel. Like, seriously, aren’t you going to be intrigued just by knowing these snippets? The movie is visually stunning; and I love every small details of Enoch and Annabel’s lives: the things they do, the things they wear, the things they talk about. And you can read Hiroshi’s love letter here.
3. Bright Star
It’s a beautiful movie and beautiful love story between the poet John Keats and his “girl-next-door” Fanny Brawne. And I love this movie so much because I love letters. Hand-written letters. Hand-written love letters, to be exact. And I am in love with John Keats. And Fanny Brawne’s cat. I am in love with the two of them. I love the recited poems during the movie and the scenes where John and Fanny walked and kissed in the woods. I can relate to Fanny. I can relate to Keats. I want that red sealing wax for my letters. I can’t stop indulging myself to read the selected love letters written by John to Fanny here.
Beth moved in to a new apartment building where she met Adam, her ‘strange‘ neighbor. It is a very grounded yet beautiful movie about loving someone; and whether there are boundaries or limitations in doing so. I love all the small details in the movie: the raccoons, tea, the cleaning of the window, the theatre, those talks about stars and galaxies… and I love Adam, too!
5. Before Sunrise
Jesse and Celine met for the first time on a Eurail train and decided to get off in Vienna and spend one day together. I love the quotes from the movie, the premise of being young and stupid and carefree, the artsy shots around Vienna, the fortune teller, the street poet, the bartender, the cemetery… I’d like to go to Vienna and do my Before Sunrise tour. There’s a sequel to this movie, Before Sunset, but if I have to choose, Before Sunrise is a lot better, and stronger.
6. Like Crazy
Jacob and Anna need to struggle with their long-distance relationship that spans between US and UK. But as it turns out, maybe it’s not really about the long-distance relationship at the first place. Maybe it’s just about the relationship itself. I love the fact that the movie feels real, instead of just plain romantic or pretty. I love the characters’ mean words as they are fighting with each other. I love the silly thoughts Anna has. I love the matter-of-factly way of Jacob. I like it because this is what happens in real life. Sometimes, love sucks.
Unsent letters are sad. Depressive. Melancholic. But these letters are hopelessly romantic as well. I have a stack of unsent letters in my drawer. Sometimes, though I have expressed my feelings to a particular person, the unsent letters I wrote for that person remain unsent. Maybe I’ll send it one day. Or maybe not :D
The ocean breeze feels so cool on my skin. That very ocean is soon to be my grave. They told me I will die a hero. That the safety and honor of my country will be the reward for my sacrifice. I pray that they are right. My only regret in life is never telling you how I feel. I wish I were back home. I wish I were holding your hand. I wish I were telling you that I have loved you. And only you since I was a boy.
But I am not.
I see now that death is easy. It is love that is hard. As my plane dives, I will not see the face of my enemies. I would instead will see your eyes. Like Blackrock frozing in the water. They tell us that we must scream ‘Banzai!’ as we plunge into our target. I will instead, whisper your name.
And in death, as in life, I will remain forever yours.
*) by Hiroshi Takahashi—a Kamikaze pilot. This unsent letter dies with him.
[From Gus van Sant's movie, RESTLESS, 2011]
**) the picture is an edited snapshot from the brochure of my Lomo Super Sampler.