I have a bad habit. I tend to cherry-pick gloomy films to watch. But like most Homo-Sapients don’t often feel like watching a gloomy film.
This isn’t just a private habit either, but something I’ve inflicted on sweetarts & disciples over the years. The first film I ever suggested watching with my teen beau was ‘Blue Velvet’. Is there a less inappropriate date film? ‘Irreversible’, maybe, but we pre-dated that.
…In fairness he got even by making me sit through ‘The Evil Dead Trilogy’ and yawning numbers of ‘Highlander’ films. Bygones.
Among my delectable film library, the balance of belly-laughs to wails of despair is not an equal one. And the truth is, no matter my pretentions to quirky, original, thought-provoking art (Yah yah), at the end of a long day of womanly toil, I just want some brain-candy… Rather than a tour de force from Daniel Day-Lewis, or Paddy Cosidine. But I still want decent brain-candy, which is probably why the most-watched films in my archive are – ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Mallrats’, ‘Science of Sleep’, ‘The Big Labowski’, ‘Amelie’, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Only three of which even make it into my top 20 favourite films (whoever guesses which 3 gets a chocolate hobnob).
So I had mixed feelings after picking ‘Melancholia’, as the film to watch at the cinema the other night. On the one hand it was stunning, and looked superb on the big screen. But on the other paw, watching the obliteration of our world, in close detail (a metaphor for the devastating depression suffered by one of the characters), and then being discarded back out into the chattering masses of the late-night cityscape, left me feeling like a bucket of pig slops tossed into a rat-infested sewer. Not that I’m in anyway associating art-cinema clientele with fluffy rodents. I’m just getting lost in doom-riddled metaphors.
Often I resist such films at the cinema, and get them on DVD, hence the overall blue note of my collection. But then most often they sit on the shelf for a rather long time before I watch them. I watch them once, and then they gather dust. Some are absolute treasures in my psyche, ‘Requiem for a Dream’, for example, I realised the other day I bought it maybe nine years ago. I’ve only mustered the guts to watch it once, as it was such an intense experience.
I think Melancholia took me by surprise. I was expecting it to be more stylised, more of a Romanticist adventure into the heart of darkness, rather than a very real punch in the stomach. I suppose the theme of depression got to me. Not just Kirsten Dunst’s etching of a bride, unable to enjoy the farce that was her wedding day, due to the weight of melancholia on her shoulders. But also Charlotte Gainsbourg’s portrayal of the sister, of how relentlessly draining it can be to look after someone suffering badly from ‘the Big D’.
So I’m gonna resist Paddy Cosidine’s directorial debut ‘Tyrannosaur’ for now, even though I really want to see it. I’ll wait for a quiet evening in the future, cuddle up with a brew, and a nest of snotty tissues. Some indulgences are best done alone.
Over & owt.
‘Blue Velvet’ (1986, David Lynch)
‘Irreversible’ (2002, Gaspar Noe)
‘The Evil Dead Trilogy’ (1981 -1992, Sam Raimi)
‘Highlander’ (1986, Russel Macalhy)
‘Labyrinth’ (1986, Jim Henson)
‘Mallrats’ (1995, Kevin Smith)
‘The Science of Sleep’ (2006, Michel Gondry)
‘The Big Labowski’ (1998, Joel Coen)
‘Amelie’ (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
‘Napoleon Dynamite’ (2004, Jared Hess)
‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004, Edgar Wright)
‘Melancholia’ (2011, Lars von Trier)
‘Requiem for a Dream’ (2000, Darren Aronofsky)
‘Tyrannosaur’ (2011, Paddy Cosidine)