Friday, February 18, 2011

There's Nothing To Be Frighten Of

Death is not poetic, meaningful or predicted: François Truffaut's La Peau douce

Death, Movies, Geoff Andrew, and Nothingness

"[To observe someone's] death is not pretty and serene, it's horrible, and painful," says Geoff Andrew about his conception of death in movies, and express his dissatisfaction of how dishonest are most movies about dying on screen (not only Hollywood movies - but in some cases European art cinema).

There's nothing to be frighten of, or as Andrew put the stress on, There's nothing - to be frighten of! And that's frightening, and comforting, depends on how prepared you are. Yes, you can be horrified by nothingness of death, or there is nothing to be horrified of.

I still believe that power of life, for those how are alive - naturally! - is more powerful than the idea of death. Andrew quote this famous Marcel Duchamp line, which find its way on Duchamp's gravestone, that "Anyway, it’s always other people who die." But he is not agree with it, and he doesn't see it as an observation of a natural or unavoidable process, on the contrary it's an awakening and unique occurrence. In other word, it seems that by being an observer of other people's death, or sudden illnesses and any kind of incident -while the main factor will be aging - you start to die yourself (I can confirm it, just by remembering what happened to Duke Ellington, after his mother passed away, and after Billy Strayhorn's unexpected death).

How cinema has represented the act of dying, or the process of leading up to death, one of the greatest examples could be François Truffaut films, mainly La Chambre verte, L'Homme qui aimait les femmes, and La Peau douce.

In La Chambre verte [Green Room], he portrays a man , played by Truffaut himself, that is so affected by other people's death that he is "incapable of experiencing the beauty and joy of life," (Acquarello, here). "It is also a highly ambitious and provocative film, not only about a man's self-destructive myopic obsession with loss and mortality, but also about paying homage to the people who have affected his life and are forever lost to him."

Aren't movies a form of homage to the dead, a reminder of those who affected us, those who are all are gone now? Maybe that is the reason why I was crying during the whole screening of Chaplin's A Dog's Life, while everybody else cackling. It reminded me of death, those who were not there anymore, a lost time, a lost place. That's movies, and that's death.

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