Distant

I usually review things straight away, but I nodded off near the end of this and woke up to the DVD menu. I played back the last ten minutes, shrugged, and planned some sort of quiet dismissal, then got on with life and forgot.

But I don't like dismissing well-made, thoughtful films, and something moved in me this morning when I woke up to the news of Anthony Bourdain's suicide. This isn't a film about suicide, but it's a film about loneliness and disconnection. And I believe that our reaction to films has far more to do with what we are receptive and not receptive to receiving than some Platonic notion of "quality".

Somewhere over the past few years, I've gone from being destroyed by films about isolation and loneliness that resonate deeply - this is why, for instance, I was so moved by Julia Leigh's SLEEPING BEAUTY - to keeping them at arm's length. I'm in a happier place now, and certain doors are closed, and I don't really want to open them. It's the same reason that I don't listen to "sad bastard" music as much these days, after many many years of indulging heartbreaking songs over and over and getting lost in them.

I don't know if I'm better for this or not. To deliberately inculcate a mode of being where certain work doesn't resonate with you seems a method of shutting out the world. Then, there is an argument I heard John Darnielle make recently on a podcast, that engaging with tragedy in the arts lets us know that these feelings can be survived, and is somehow healthy.

All of this may seem grandiose for a film that is more often mordant than morose, including a lengthy scene that involves making a cousin watch STALKER until he gets bored and leaves, then turning on porn. But I guess what I'm saying is that in the experience the final slow zoom in on one of our two protagonists annoyed me, and this morning it nearly overwhelms me with sadness, and I'm not sure which reaction to nurture.

Stay strong, stay safe. Someone out there cares about you more than they know how to communicate.