Last night I went to see the French film Bachelor Days are Over, playing at Walter Reade for part of the Jewish Film Festival. I sat in my comfy seat expecting to laugh along with strangers, but instead found the whole experience depressing.
The first wave of sadness came within ten minutes of the opening credits. And the crash of frustration hit directly after when people started to laugh.
The film is about marriage. But instead of showing how wonderful a union can be, it focuses on all the cliches people think of when they hear the term. Sometimes wouldn’t it be nice to see a film that actually made you want to be in love, that inspired you to look forward to your future instead of fear it?
So the first bout of annoyance came from the fact that I was sitting there watching a film about unhappy people perpetuating their unhappiness, making it almost impossible to emotionally connect to them, and the second force of disappointment came from the laughter of the people in the audience. The laughter bothered me because it felt forced, a cycle of repetition, a misunderstanding of fear.
I didn’t stay for the Q&A session at the end. What was I going to ask? Why didn’t they make a different film … I couldn’t ask that, because, well, they obviously wanted to make this film. But maybe after watching it, people left thinking similarly to me. Maybe they turned to their partner and said, I want our life to be different. I am with you because I love you, not because I settled or was scared I would end up alone. I want to be happy, I don’t want to sit on my life – I want to experience it and share it and the reason why I’m with you is because I want to share my life with you. I’m here because I want to be, not because I’m scared.
I’m ready for someone to make a piece that makes me want to be in love.
So far the only film I’ve seen recently that inspired and made me want to express more and feel more was the documentary Pina by Wim Wenders. “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost” she says. The powerful film is in 3-D, and it invites you to enter and breathe in a magically real world for the length of the film.
The delicious inspiration I felt came from the movement, natural, that showcased an emotional experience flowing so easily through bodies as evidence that moving through fear and pain is the only way to overcome and open yourself to the beauty of experience. I’ve yet to find cliche in movement; it’s an art form difficult to hide in.by