My only passions were books and music. As you might guess, I led a lonely life. (Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami)
I discovered his third movie before the first and the second ones. He was there at the screening of his third movie. Followed by a nice Q & A session with a young and curious public. I did not ask any question but somehow we started to talk to each other when all the people had left.
The week after that, I bought his two first movies and watched them all during the same weekend.
The first and the third movies were about the working environment. Precise, just tones, nothing more, nothing less, efficient. I liked his way of depicting one’s submission to work and rules at work. In one movie, a middle-level manager killed himself after having shot his boss and colleagues, early one morning. In the other one, a young employee, in order to pursue his career, obeyed the orders of his superiors and coldly fired numerous of his co-workers. He was asked to do the dirty job. He accepted it after some short moments of hesitations, wondering about the human consequences of his actions. In both movies, either we play by the rules, or we cannot survive.
His second movie was about love. I disliked the way he perceived love and happiness. Relative love. Relative happiness. A successful woman finally decided to marry the man she once rejected during a speed dating session, having kids with him and openly cheated on him at the end of the movie. I hated his vision of reduced love and acceptance of a form of weak and fragile “happiness”, in exchange for not being alone. He said it was the only way for him to imagine love and to survive a life in couple. We argued about this each time we had the opportunity to. I knew I could not change his sad vision of a couple. I told him I could never settle for less when it came to love. He stayed on his same position.
The world he has been living in, the world of creativity, the life of an artist, the way of hiding behind the art and the difficult of expressing his feelings through real life but only through his movies had driven me crazy. Sometimes I had come to think he did it by cowardice. When we met after the promotion of his third movie, the situation was sad and clear. He had wife and small kids. I had never been anyone’s mistress and would never become one. Not because I had a sense of high moral or ethic or something like that. I am just the kind of woman who cannot share a man with another woman, especially when the other woman was the legitimate one. He suggested our story to become a thousand of episodes of a TV show which never had to last but instead could go on seasons through seasons with stealthy meetings in different cities and hotels whenever he could escape. I declined the offer and suggested we rather went for a short movie and said goodbye to each other. We ended our story somewhere in Germany with a bit of bitterness, more from me than from him, because I overestimated his courage. For a second back there, I did believe that our story could end up in something bigger than his movies. I was wrong. He acted like the woman in his third movie. Being an outsider, contemplating his relative happiness and accepting a “small” love back home. But I could understand. I did not blame him. When you have kids, you don’t walk away that easy. After that episode, I moved on, fell in love with someone else some months later.
A year after that, when we met again, he said the most beautiful thing to me: “I don’t think you will end up alone. People who age and end up alone are bitter, lifeless. You are so living and vivid. You are alone because you had chosen to stay alone. It is just a phase. It will end the day you decide to settle down and to have someone in your life. I am sure.” I did not answer back and did not want to bet either. Of course I hoped he was right. Of course I hoped it was a phase. Nobody wants to be alone for the rest of his life.
He said this and then let me know he had moved to a small flat and had separated from his wife. The new life was not easy for him but he tried to make it work, especially for the children. Maybe he had finally understood my version of love. Absolute love. Two souls for a lifetime. Never settle for less. Maybe he had understood a little bit.
We left after that drink. We promised to stay close to each other and not to lose sight of each other’s life. We were drawn to each other through an intellectual vibe yet poetic and real. I promised to be the first one lining up in the cue for his forth movie, the subject of which I did not want to ask him about. I preferred to wait. And see. Not only the forth movie but also his new life. Not only as a spectator but also as someone who cares.