Sunday, July 08, 2007

Once is not enough

The weekend so far has been spent in a sleepwalking reverie of singing in the streets of Dublin, inspired by the independent film Once.

A few tidbits that won't give it away for those of you who haven't and absolutely must see it include
  • The ever-pleasant, unplastic beauty of European film faces.
  • The wonder of Dublin's bay.
  • The ever-present bleakness of Ireland and the British Isles.
You have to like music -- and you will if you didn't -- to appreciate this mildly autobiographical short story put on film about a singular musical affinity between a man and a woman.

The trailer and publicity attempts to cast the movie as a romantic story, a chick-flick (a genre I happen to like), with the slug "How often do you find the right person?" The film's title is supposed to be the answer.

In my opinion, it isn't -- you'll have to see it to test my view against yours.

What I got was the intrinsic value of having something deeply in common with someone else, feeling attraction, enjoying certain things together, all without dwelling on matters such as making hot monkey love -- or the consequences thereof. I was reminded of intense friendships I have had with women whom I never even kissed.

Some were very lost souls. I tend to collect them.

I remember a weekend in Montreal with a fellow student who was temporarily homeless -- actually locked out. We went everywhere together until her housemates got back. I didn't have a girlfriend at the moment -- I was new in Montreal -- and there might have been an attraction but neither of us made that necessary move. We ran into each other in hallways and on the streets after that, but never reconnected.

Also in Montreal were the months I spent going to the movies and ice cream shops with a young woman who was very pregnant and staying in a home for unmarried mothers-to-be. I knew her brother incidentally but we clicked and went everywhere together with nothing more affectionate than a hug. Then she delivered, her boyfriend reappeared from AWOL and she went off with him into what I surmised would be an unhappy sunset.

Susan remains to me a blonde, very pregnant young woman with the sweetest of smiles on a face that stretched too-long and yet was too unfurrowed for her manifold problems.

It's the sort of thing that happens when you travel. On a ship, you dance with someone, even the slow dances, and back home she runs to her boyfriend. On a plane, your father has died and you hold hands for half the trip home with a total stranger you will never see again.

It happens when you're young and you go to coffeehouses where poetry is read. It happens when you try out a new religious movement. It happens when you visit family friends in London and the oldest daughter seems perfectly in synch with you for one great day that you remember for years, with even a song for it.

That's the other thing: get the music after you see the film. Listen to the lyrics and they will all ring true.

So, I confess, I couldn't stay away. I went to see the film Friday and went again Saturday. Because once is not enough.


Anonymous said...

Loved your comment about the "unplastic beauty"

Anonymous said...

more - also "The wonder of Dublin's bay. The everpresent bleakness of Ireland and the British Isles."
This movie and La Vie En Rose capture so much more than American movies even try to capture. Like you say Once is capturing the magnitude of a relationship where there hasn't been a kiss. Compare this to an American movie -- I can't think of any.

Geneviève said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jen said...

ok, i will check it out.

have you seen The Secret Life Of Words? Saw it this weekend (rental) and was rather moved by the whole thing.

thailandchani said...

Sounds like a good movie. If it's ever on Netflix, I'll be sure to get it.

I like your comments about how people pass through our lives ~ and especially how men and women can be friends without the other sticky dynamic. The older I get, the more important male friendships are. The other stuff is just so much effluvia, for which I have little interest. :)