Saturday, 6 April 2013

"De rouille et d'os" and "Happy together"

Within a short period I've watched and loved 2 films about love that are totally different, or perhaps even opposite. The 1st one is "De rouille et d'os", aka "Rust and bone", a French film. The film starts with an unemployed single father, who is very physical, interested in 1-night stands rather than relationships, and in fighting. While working as a guard as a nightclub he meets a woman, a killer whale trainer. Which seems rather random. How they meet, and how they attach to each other, seems rather random. Shortly after the meeting the woman has an accident at work and has both legs amputated. "De rouille et d'os", different from most films about love I've seen, thus tells the story of these 2 characters, how they fall in love and develop their love, quietly, through patience and understanding. A love story without romance and all that glittering thing. They don't even say "I love you" to each other. They understand each other, care about each other, and express their love quietly, tenderly, like the love and understanding between the woman and the killer whales, a perfect communion without any need for words. Marion Cotillard is wonderful as always, having been my no.1 favourite French actress since "La vie en rose", she helps us feel how the character feels, and she does it beautifully, convincingly. Another thing that makes the film great is the attention to details- notice the difference in the way the man makes love to her and the way he has sex with other women. In short, "De rouille et d'os" touches and moves me in a quiet way. 

The 2nd one is the Hong Kong film "Happy together". It impresses me, strikes me, overwhelms me, haunts me. I watched the film the other night, and about 2 nights later, watched it again. Looking almost like a documentary, "Happy together" for most of running time focuses on a tiny, messy apartment, which may be said to symbolise the situation the 2 main characters are stuck in, their fierce, torturous relationship. Well, not that my view is really negative. I like that relationship. They love strongly and deeply and make each other suffer, and in the end, I personally don't like them to part, but it's inevitable. I notice that lots of reviewers seem to put the blame on Leslie Cheung's character, describing him as "playboy" and having a "destructive personality", and I don't deny him being destructive and self-destructive, tempestuous, unstable, sometimes like a big kid, spoilt, selfish, immature. But they probably don't realise that Tony Leung's character, albeit loving, tolerant, patient, more stable and committed in the relationship, is also jealous, possessive and controlling, and anybody forced to stay in such a small room with nothing to do would get bored and try to break free the same way Leslie's character does. In this film, both Leslie and Tony are wonderful. And I like both characters. If I like Tony's character as someone I probably need, in spite of his flaws, I like Leslie's character as someone very similar to me- unstable, destructive and self-destructive, and in need of being taken care of. And in the end, what will happen? We don't know. "Happy together", like other films by Wong Kar-wai, leaves me melancholy and nostalgic, with a feeling of belonging nowhere, feeling uncertain but not hopeless. 

Anyway, having sat here and stared at the screen for 15 minutes without knowing how to end this entry, I guess I should simply say "fuck it" and stop here. 

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