My own movie

“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves. That’s all.” (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – Haruki Murakami)

Sunday morning

A film festival ends today in my city

Slowly awakening

From some hectic days

Movies, dreams, fiction, reality

Passion, love, images, music

“Savages, Broken, The Words, Songs of Silence”

New movies, old movies

I emerge slowly

From my own movie

Passion, love, music, pain

A “déjà-vu”

My head hurts

My rational thoughts caress my heart

The city is still calm

And so am I

My own movie in black and white

Blending into the grey sky

Resonating the old pain all over again

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A letter

You came to me at a party organized by the backstage of the festival. You asked me why I was here, was I an actress, a producer or a filmmaker? I said that I was invited here because my mother was invited in the first place. The music was loud. I could not hear everything you said. I asked you to give me your visit card instead. Then some of my friends came to us and you started to talk more to them than to me. I started to dance by myself. Later on, you said that you could not stop but looking at me from the bar and you wanted to join me and dance. You said that a guy invited me to dance a slow so you backed off several times. We left together around 4 in the morning in the same cab, with my friends and yours. My hotel was in front of yours. In front of my hotel, we all invited you to my farewell party. Farewell party with me, my best friend and my parents. You said yes.

The next evening we ran into you somewhere between a movie and another one. We said hello. I was with my parents and my best friend. You asked me if my farewell party still took place after the movie. I said yes and invited you one more time. Then we all headed to a cocktail party. You asked which was my relationship with my best friend because you came to know that we shared the same hotel room. You asked if we were together. I said that my best friend was married and had a baby a few months ago. You seemed relieved. You were shy and serious. We talked about movies more than anything else. I was myself, it means I could not be very serious and intellectual as the people in the film industry. I was there to support my mother, not for myself. Then your assistant came by and asked us to join him at a karaoke bar. The idea enchanted me. I love karaoke bar and of course the singing, just like other Asians. You were hesitant but you followed us.

The karaoke bar was tiny and smoky. People can still smoke in that country. My best friend, first thing, grabbed the microphone and sang. You smiled at him and at me. You asked me to sing with him. I said no because I did not want you to feel alone while everybody sang and seemed completely euphoric. You looked tired and I knew you did not like the ambiance. I knew you stayed because of me. I hardly looked at you. Later on you told me it was difficult to guess my intentions and desires. Truth was I did not know for myself if I wanted to be alone with you or to sing with friends. I did not look at you so that I did not have to decide with the expressions on my face. You were waiting for a signal of me. Nothing.

We left the karaoke bar very late. Everybody said goodbye to everybody but nobody seemed eager to leave right away. The handsome Lithuanian filmmaker I met a few days before passed by us. My best friend said: “hey, see, this is the guy she likes and she talked to him the whole yesterday evening”. I pretended not to hear the remark. I did not want you to know that. You asked aggressively: “Ah ok, is this your style of man?”. I pretended not to hear your question. I did not answer. Later on, you told me you were jealous because the guy was indeed handsome. I kissed you goodbye on the cheek and crossed the street to get back to my hotel. My best friend followed me. Once in front of my hotel, I turned my head to check if you too turned your head to look at me one last time. You did not.

My flight was at 8 in the morning. My best friend said to me once in the room: “Forget him, please. It was a nice evening. Let it be that way, ok?”. He turned off the light on his side and fell asleep. I took the hotel stationary, went to the bathroom, stayed in there, sat on the floor. I wrote to you a letter. I gave you my email address, my phone number and asked you to contact me back in Europe. Then I got ready to leave the room. Exhausted but very determined with my letter.

Before I left to the airport, I gave the concierge the letter. I told him to bring it to you personally the same morning and not to send it because I knew you were leaving just one day after me. The concierge had a hard time to understand me. He said he could not bring it to you because it was not possible, it was not part of his job. I was exhausted. My bus to the airport was already there. I took the letter, crossed the street and ran to the lobby of your hotel. I left it to the concierge of your hotel.

Two days later, you wrote to me. You received my letter. You said if I did not write the letter, we would have left each other with my three formal goodbye kisses. You would never know what to do really after the karaoke bar. You would never know how to intervene in order to break the complicity I had with my best friend and keep me all for yourself that night. You said your goodbye kisses were clumsy and desperate with no hope but they were not cold as I said in my letter. You said without my letter, you would have missed an opportunity to live the rare beauty of an encounter, especially after having been so close to me and that moment but not being able to seize the opportunity. You said that we were close and far away at the same time in this karaoke bar because fear invaded you and incomprehension made you completely passive. But with my letter, we had passed from desires to reality. My letter gave birth to our story.

You own me that one. Today I still don’t know if it was a good or bad idea to write the letter. I just know that you own me one. A big one.

Batman

I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change. (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami)

Midnight on Sunday. The weekend just ended. A weekend during which I could barely feel anything, neither positive nor negative. But for the first time, anger.

I saw friends in my hometown. Once again, nobody seemed to understand my choice of life, my attitudes in matters of love. For them, my quest for an ideal love seemed immature and fascinating at the same time. They kept on telling me that they could not understand my hopes and dreams for an ideal person who could suit me perfectly.They repeated it the whole weekend.

I started to doubt. Maybe I am wrong. At this point, I am probably wrong or totally wrong already. If everybody keeps on telling me that what I am looking for in love does not exist, maybe everybody is right. I start to believe all these smart people and friends now. I am not waiting for any Charming Prince to come and rescue me. I am not considering myself as a princess in my tower, up over there.

I am just sincere in love. I don’t cheat, I don’t lie, I don’t stay when I fall out of love. If I love someone, I tell him. If I don’t, I shut up. What’s wrong with that anyway? It’s not my quest for love that is unrealistic. I don’t fancy anything special. I am not having fun. I am not particularly serious. I just live and try to be true to myself. And honest too. It has nothing to do with love or asking for a Charming Prince. I don’t ask for anything. I am just sincere.

What’s wrong with being direct, being true, saying what I want, what I feel to people when it is the time and moment to say it. I don’t play any games.

The weekend was difficult to handle. I listened and could not be indifferent to these comments. I did not justify myself and instead tried to evaluate my friends’ analyses. But they made me doubt so much. I started to think I have taken the wrong path.

Then this evening I went to see the movie of Batman, the last one.

I got out of the movie theatre and asked myself: “What’s wrong to believe that it’s a good thing to have a Batman in your city? Even if it’s a movie and Batman does not exist? Isn’t it that bad to dream, to hope, to reach out for something perfect? The worst case scenario is disappointment. But I think I already know that nobody is perfect and Batman does not exist in real life and we all have been once or several times disappointed by someone or something because it is part of life. Does it hurt to dream a bit, to hope for more? I am tired of being labeled immature and dreamer. How could I survive forty years ahead of me without hope and dreams?

Does it hurt to believe in Batman once in a while?

Heroes and lines

Heroes in movies are heroes because they act magnificently right and their lines are perfect. Being a movie addict, I have spent my whole life looking for heroes in real life, expecting “normal” people to say the right word at the right moment. Needless to say that it was a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. But I have never lost hope. And I was right.

I remember the one time I was very mad at him. Not mad, FURIOUS. I haven’t seen him the whole summer. We were not together, we were having a “thing” but not really discussed about it. Then he went away for two months. Somehow, we ended up in the same city somewhere in Europe. I did not want to contact him or meet him, knowing that the best setting for us was at home, when we really had time for each other. But one day, on Facebook messenger, somehow we started to chat and agreed to meet the next evening. I suggested a small and short coffee meeting. I got stuck with the idea of seeing him only back home. He insisted for a dinner. I said yes to him, said no to my friend for a last dinner in this city. I had chosen him over my friends, which was not really my usual style in friendship. I was half convinced about my decision, half excited to see him again. I was not really in my best shape that day, struggling a bit with my inner self (very usual behavior by the way!).

We were supposed to meet at 8pm. At 6pm, I got two missed calls from him. I feared the worst. And indeed, it was the worst. He called me to cancel the dinner. He had something very important to do that evening and could not make it. He said he could come by my hotel later on after his event. Or we could meet back home two weeks later. I saw black. The sky was suddenly black. I could not hear the end of his sentences. I was furious. I had cancelled on my friend. I already had a bad feeling about this meeting. I could not say a word and hung up.

I went back to the hotel, staying in my room, staring at the ceiling (very usual behavior !), thinking first, then crying next. Crying out of rage. Long cries with noisy sobs. It seemed to last forever. Then I called my friend and went out quickly to eat something. “I don’t know what happened there and who is the guy but you should not be that affected.”, my friend said. “You should never show a man that you are that upset. Always have the upper hand and never let down all your cards.” After his sentence, I was furious with my friend too. I left the restaurant. I could kill everybody on my way back to the hotel.

Like a teenager, I wrote him an inflammatory mail. I told him that it was inacceptable and I did not want to see him ever again. At the time, it sounded so right and mature (ha, here I need to smile), every word was well chosen and put. My disappointment was totally justified. Then I hit the button “Sent”. That evening, I was hardly seventeen years old, mental age (now I smile about that, but believe me, it was not a funny evening back there).

A few hours later he answered: “I am sorry I had to cancel. But I had an opportunity to be in that event and it is not everyday I can see that. For the rest, we will talk in person back home.”

I was still furious. The answer was not that bad, I had to admit. Short, sharp, right to the point. I stopped crying and fell asleep.

The next day at the airport, I went back to fourteen years old, mental age. I decided to remove him from my friends on Facebook. Damn mature! A symbolic act for teenagers. Imagine me at the airport, pushing the button “Unfriend”,  “Sure you want to unfriend this person?”, “Yes”. Gone. Out. Dead. Go away ! And I cried again, like a baby (now I laugh out loud). A man sitting next to me in the plane looked at me with pity: “Are you sure you are ok? I hope nothing that bad happened to you.”

I wanted to answer in my sobs: “I unfriended him” but I restrained myself from saying that because really I can look young but not like a 14 years old girl either.

Two days after that dramatic episode, he called me from abroad. We talked a bit. I told him about my miserable evening back there in the hotel and that I really wanted to never see him again. Even if I knew that I was overreacted but it was what I had felt at the moment.

He said: “How could you believe just for a second that you and me, it would be over like that. How could you think that we could end our story just like that.” (if this was written on a piece of paper, I would highlight this answer in bright yellow…)

I told him that I would connect him again on Facebook because I was being reasonable again after our phone call.

He said: “Yes. But I am now on an island with very few access to Internet. If I cannot accept right away your friend request, please don’t get mad and act crazy, ok?”

So, sometimes it happens.

Sometimes you get a chance to meet a hero in real life, the one who knows the lines and how to manage your crazy moods.

Moral of this story: “Ladies, keep your great expectations and wait for a “movie-hero alike ” person !” (now I reach at least the mental age of 19 – yes, let’s say, 19…)

Reality is not in my vocabulary

I am sure you are at least once, if not many times in your lives, touched or affected by some catchphrases, dialogs or movie scenes. I am not any different, if not worse. Some love scenes or dialogs (or silence) could kill me. Out of their beauties and power.

I could never forget:

1. The way we were (with Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford):

Evening – somewhere outside. She sees him on the other side of the street. She crosses the street to talk to him. He looks at her, says nothing, bends slightly, takes her leg and ties her laces.

2. Out of Africa (again with Redford and Meryl Streep):

Afternoon – He washes her hair.

3. Once upon a time in America (with Robert de Niro – after this movie, I have always thought he could stop acting for good, he could never play in another movie that could live up to that one, he had reached in “Once upon a time in America” the apotheosis of  the art of acting. Anyway it is just my humble opinion):

Evening – He invites Deborah for dinner.

“You want a place by the ocean. I had it opened. It was closed for the season. All these tables are for two people. Pick whatever one you want”.

They dance in the empty restaurant.

He repeats a poem she used to read to him : “How beautiful are your feet / In sandals, O prince’s daughter/ Your navel is a bowl / Well-rounded with no lack of wine / Your belly, a heap of wheat / Surrounded with lilies / Your breasts / Clusters of grapes / Your breath, sweet-scented as apples.”

4. Love story (with Ali Mc Graw and Ryan O’Neal):

Afternoon – Outside – they play with the snow, in a park. Music and unforgettable soundtrack.

Evening – In front of the porch – After a fight, Jenny, in her tears: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

5. And recently “Drive” (with Ryan Gosling)

In the elevator – he looks at the killer, turns to her – Not a word, silence, and kisses her. The kiss lasts for at least three minutes.

6. My movie

Before he left, we did not discuss the ending or how we were supposed to live our time apart. For me, it was more “The end” than “To be continued”. I did not know if I could see him, ever again. I have decided to not expect anything else from that moment.

The day he left, he called me from the gate, a few minutes before boarding. I had bought a new laptop a week earlier. I told him on the phone.

“Don’t throw away your old laptop. When I am back, I will have a look at it, see why it’s so slow, I will clean it for you” – he said to me.

I died after this answer.