I don’t watch movies much. Movies stars are often hailed as modern-day Messiahs, known by their first name only; Brad, Angelina, Tom etc. While many are indeed talented, that kind of worship is unhealthy and unwarranted. After all we don’t know George Bush as George do we? Of course the media is an insider in the game, pumping out hyperbolic propaganda, waiting for a star to fall so they can be degraded and condemned, only to be resurrected with a Vogue photo shoot.
My general complaint about the devotion and attention given to movies is simply because they are the books for the modern soundbite, low attention-span populace. We tend to lap up the easy options, have been told that movies cover all bases; relaxing, educating, provocative and uplifting. The idea of spending two hours of my life watching a film because it kills some time is totally alien to me. Having a story just wash over you seems ludicrous. If it’s pointless, why watch it?
But one benefit of not watching many movies is when I do, I hope they are the better ones. The film which have taken more thought to write. I’ve never understood why a scriptwriter doesn’t get more credit in the media. He/she wrote the story. The actor just acted out 40 scenes, had numerous attempts at getting it right and then walked out to media flashlights. Though I guess screenwriters understand what is important and so don’t seek such attention. The real crass answer is maybe they aren’t so media beautiful for the cameras or don’t have the catch phrases for the 2 minute interviews.
So back to the film. Last night, I watched Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. The story surrounds Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, a couple who break up and independently use medical technology to wipe their memories of each other to allow them to leave in relative calm. Winslet has her memory blanked after a vicious argument with Carrey, leaving him unrecognisable to her. Shocked, Carrey does the same but once the process begins and we see their relationship in reverse as its gradually erased, he begins to fight it, to keep the memories of his love, no matter how painful they were. I’ve never been convinced by Kate Winslet before but here, Carrey and her shine in this curious, delicate and painfully direct film. I want to see it again.
It’s an interesting focus on the pain of love and a lesson in how it doesn’t always run smoothly like the movies. For me, it fits in nicely with Milan Kundera’s A Story of Laughter and Forgetting which I am reading at the moment. Kundera is a real philosopher of modern life and relationships. He informs you throughout his books on parts of your life you could never articulate. His books are littered with decisive insight that makes you wonder at the life he has led to come to such penetrative and succinct thought.
Like The Joke, The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Ignorance, this book, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting should be read by all those who still care.