Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MOMENTs in film

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being", 1988.
Picture from nighthawknews

I hope you are up for a post that stretches the definition of art and gives an almost embarrassingly personal account of certain precious moments I experienced around twenty years ago, when I saw something that made me understand more about art (but also about love and communication...)

The first time I watched "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (in 1988) I realized that film is not only entertainment, but also art. I was not particularly moved by the love story it tells, but (... I am aware of how pompous this sounds....) Sven Nykvist's fantastic cinematography made me see the world in a new light!

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being", 1988, Picture from stickyfingers

I was probably too young and immature to be very fascinated by Sabina (Lena Olin's character). I wanted to be like Tereza (Juliette Binoche), -  able to see beauty in harsh realities.


A little later that year I watched "The Good Mother", a mediocre film that I can hardly remember. But one scene made a lasting impression. When I saw the mother (Diane Keaton), who is in danger of losing custody of her little girl, talk to her by the kitchen counter one morning, I understood that it is possible to communicate with children in ways that crucially enhance their feeling of self worth.

It took eleven years from I watched that film until I became a mother myself, but that "Good Mother" character still represents an ideal that I strive for.

"The Double Life of Veronique", 1991. Picture from David Bordwell's website on cinema

"The Double Life of Veronique" gave me a similar kind of inspiration as I had got from "The Unbearable Lightness of Being": The cinematography, the music, and the way the main character (Irène Jacob) experiences the world around her.

"Shadowlands", 1993. Picture from

Love is difficult (that must be the obvious reason why it is the theme of so many stories). But the film "Shadowlands" made me understand what my challenge is, and I am still working on it...

I would be very happy to hear if you have had similar experiences with MOMENTs in film :-)


Safran/S said...

Memory lane! The Unbearable Lightness is the kind of movie you are afraid to see years later - what if the magic has been lost in the years in between? Well, it hadn't. Still magic! So was the book, that I read not long after having seen the film. Another defining movie moment: "Mitt liv som hund". Same director, equally moving, (though not for the same reasons,) also scary to review, and still magic after all these years as well!

CELINE said...

There is obviously quite a bit of nostalgia involved in watching these films again many years later. I am sure I would have liked "My Life as a Dog" very much if I had seen it in a theatre when it first came out (different director, by the way...). But I watched it on television about a year ago, and it just didn't become one of those moments, I think (maybe a bit early to tell, though...)