Love: Tragic & Otherwise

Love: Tragic & Otherwise

Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
 
 
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Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 4 hours later

Nicole said

wow, all this pain. Too much for me today, I’m afraid, my friend.

So, it looks like the commenting situation has improved/been resolved?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 6 hours later

Marmalade said

That is funny. I didn’t intend it to be painful. I was initially just thinking of some of my favorite songs and movie scenes, and I realized that a large proportion of them involved tragic romance.

I’m not surprised. I often forget that one of those pivotal books in my life is Wuthering Heights. lol There are 3 fiction books that I read in highschoolwhich had long-term impact on my whole sense of life. The other two are Hesse’s Siddhartha and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure. Thinking about it, both of those also have their tragic romances.

This is a highly personal collection.

The Bonnie Tyler song is from my brief college days when love and life in general seemed like a sad pipe dream. That song reminded me of my own buried emotions. The first video is from Legends of the Fall. Its a somewhat cheesy movie, but I watched it at a time(after dropping out of college)when I was feeling pulled between a desire for home and a desire for escape. The epic scenery resonated with the Arizona landscape where I was briefly living at the time.

Moulin Rouge was a movie that I became obsessed with during a deeply troubled romance, my first love in fact. It was this love of mine who made a collection of songs for me which included Bjork’s All is Love and Dido’s White Flag. I particularly love White Flag and can listen to it endlessly.

The rest are just movies that are some of my most favorite of favorites. All of them touch me deeply.

I’m sure if I thought more about it, there are other scenes and songs I could add.

I wanted to add some other scenes from Legends of the Fall. When Tristan is leaving, Suzannah tells him she’ll wait for him forever. Of course, after years have passed, he does return but she has married the brother. She tells Tristan that forever was too long, and then she kills herself. I couldn’t find any video for those scenes.

Nor could I find a scene I like from Dark City. The female lead tells the protagonist that even though their memories are false their love is real because it feels real. Its nice logic, and its actually not a tragic movie.

I almost included in this collection another song from a musical. The song I speak of is from Jesus Christ Superstar. Mary is singing about how she should love Jesus. Its not exactly a romantic love song, but it has the same feeling to it… a complex lovefelt towardsa person who is doomed.

Well, Nicole, come back again sometime when your tolerance for pain is a bit higher. There is some great beauty amidst the above sadness.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole – BTW I was wanting to point out that not all the videos are sad. The 4th and 5th videos are quite happy I’d say. In particular, All is Full of Love doesn’t even have the slightest undertone of sadness. Its simply a sweet song about love.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

My fault, I randomly started by trying Finish It, but couldn’t make it all the way through the clip.

Yes, you’re quite right about All is Full of Love, I’d seen it before. That song from Jesus Christ Superstar is very touching – “I don’t know how to love him…” It has haunted me since I first heard it as a child.

And I agree that there is great beauty in all this. I feel more cheerful today so will tackle them.

I haven’t seen Legends of the Fall – I remember being terrified by the previews 🙂 it seemed way too sad for me at the time (yes, I am over-sensitive, and I was much worse then!).

So, Dark City is safe to watch eh?

You discover a lot about a person by finding out what books and movies they like, and what songs they enjoy. Up till now, we’ve mostly discussed books and movies. The songs help provide another dimension.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Interesting. What attracted you to start withFinish It? That is from The Fountain which probably is my all-time favorite movie… but it is quite the tragic story. Still, it doesn’t feel tragic to me.

All is Full of Love is one of those songs that makes me such a fan of Bjork. Even though she doesn’t tend towards the tragic usually, Dancer in the Dark is an extremely tragic movie. Most of her songs though are more playful and upbeat, and she often has great music videos.

Jesus Christ Superstar is great all around, but there issomething about that particular song. As a spiritual person, the question that Mary asks is so central. I like that musical because it focuses on Mary and Judas. The other movie that brought Jesus story alive for me is The Last Temptation of Christ. People have a love or hate reaction to that movie. That Jesus is portrayed as a tragic character on the level of Job.

As for Legends of the Fall, its probably the least worthy of being included. Its a tad dark and in parts violent. I’ve always had a man-crush on Brad Pitt and tend to like anything he does. All the actors in that movie are very good. Anyways, I suppose its not a movie for you. 🙂

Is Dark City safe to watch? Hmmm… well, it is neo-noir which is dark as the title itself proclaims… but it isn’t as dark as most neo-noir. It has its moments of violence which very well might be too much for you. The reason I don’t consider it tragic is because it has an existentially optimistic ending. Its a story about the indomitable human spirit.

Yeah, I guess I don’t post as much about music. Probably because I really don’t listen to music much. I just have particular songs I enjoy. The problem is that many of my favorite songs are ones I hear on the radio and so I often don’t even know the name of or the band. I’ve joined Last FM recently. Maybe I’ll be able to collect some of my favorite music together. I’ll give it some thought and I’ll see if I can put blog post together about it.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

Let me add another comment. The song from Dancer in the Dark that included above is just absolutely beautiful to the point of being heart-wrenching. I think it might be the best song in the movie and I sometimes find myself listening to it repeatedly.

It might just win the prize for being the most tragic of my favorite movies. Wuthering Heights is tragic, but Bjork’s charachter draws out such a deep sympathy from me. She is living such a difficult life and you can feel her loneliness, but that isn’t what she focuses on. All that she sees is beauty and her love for her son is more important than anything including her own life.

It is a hard movie to get into. In order to set up the mood, it starts out very slow…. but the emotional intensity just keeps building until the very last moment. It is a story about love. She loves her son and the man in the video clip loves her. He is trying to woo her, but her response is that she has already lived her life and there is nothing left for her. She wants to save her son from her own fate and she stoically accepts her responsibility.

The movie, overall, is too dark to watch too often. However, certain scenes I feel drawn to watch again and again. The song I included is one of the most emotionally beautiful of any song I’ve ever heard. Its where she first explains herself to another. Its just awesome.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

I’m not sure why I started with Finish It, because it was an emotional impulse, not thought through. The only explanation is that there was something in the freeze-frame that really drew me in – my best guess is that he reminds me of someone who is very dear to me.

As much as I have always loved books and as powerfully as movies affect me, music is a more over-riding force in my life. I tend to think songs, feel songs, music is so much a part of the fabric of my life.

I will probably end up watching the Fountain as people keep recommending it to me, though I know I will probably cry a lot. Can’t be helped 🙂

I haven’t seen the Last Temptation of Christ, but can understand its appeal.

So, you like Brad Pitt eh? And the other actors in the movie are good, but it’s not for me? Oh well 🙂

Hmm Dark City has an optimistic ending does it? I think from our PKD discussions we have a somewhat different idea of optimistic so I’ll take that under advisement :):)

I would very much like to read a blog about your favourite music if you are so inclined to write it…

I’m very intrigued to hear that song from Dancer in the Dark now that you’ve explained about it, will do that now…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I used to listen to music more, but then I got into talk radio. Somehow speaking voices soothe me.

These days, the music I’m interested in is whatever my friend is playing because we share a similar taste and music from movies. Actually, I’ve discovered several songs I like recently from commercials. Advertising may not influence my buying habits much, but apparently it can influence the songs I’ll listen to. lol

In reference to a potential blog about music, we’ll see how that goes. It probably wouldn’t be for a while because I’m focused somewhat elsewhere. It sounds enjoyable and so I’ll probably get around to it… eventually. 🙂

Dark City is fairly typical neo-noir, and so it depends on whether you like that genre. It doesn’t seem like a genre you’d be attracted to.

Come to think of it, Dark City isn’t exactly typical neo-noir, but has many typical neo-noir elements. Its more of a cross-breeding between neo-noir and SF with some Kafka influence thrown in. Its a darker version of The Truman Show and has some of the feeling of a PKD story.

It was made shortly before The Matrix and has similar themes. Its darker than The Matrix in being more claustrophobic (more focused on one character in a more enclosed world), but its much less violent. It doesn’t have as much of that over-the-top violence that The Matrix loves to emphasize.

Its maybe equally dark to A Scanner Darkly. Scanner doesn’t have much violence at all, but Scanner is maybe more depressing on the subjective level of psychological disintegration. I’d say that Dark City has an ending that is more optimistic… all is relative though.

All in all, I’m pretty sure its another movie not for you. Its hard to tell though. I have a friend who tries to be very positive and isn’t attracted to depressing entertainment. He considers Dark City to be a very emotionally moving movie. He seemed to consider the ending positive. Then again, he also likes superhero movies and so he is probably less effected by violence than you are.

Yes, please let me know what you think of the Dancer in the Dark song. Some people just don’t like Bjork’s voice… fools that they are!

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

well, unfortunately, i am one of those foolish people who doesn’t like Bjork’s voice. I admire what she does, which is trailblazing for the genre, but it just doesn’t work for me. I spend too much time with classical music, I guess… That said, the organist at my church likes Bjork a lot and he is ultra into classical singing, was even married to an operatic soprano. So go figure 🙂

If I get brave I’ll try out some of those movies and see if I survive 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

I wonder why I like her voice so much. Two things come to mind. She has pretty good range in how she uses her voice. But more importantly she expresses emotion well. She can be a passionate singer something like Meatloaf. What I’d love to hear her do is some folk ballads. She has a good voice for folk and she would definitely make any song her own.

Hey, guess what I’m doing? I’m on Last FM perusing the music. Its a pretty cool site that I’d recommend. At the moment, I’m listening to T.V. Carpio sing from Across the Universe… another bittersweet love song. She has a really really nicevoice. ❤

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

Well, hopefully she will take you up on that, and do some folk music. I’d like to hear that too.

Last FM is a good site, but it’s been a while since I’ve used it. 

Marmalade : Gaia Child

5 days later

Marmalade said

In case you want to check out what I’m listening to, I have an accunt on Last FM. I’m MarmaladeSteele which is a variation of my name I often use when the username Marmalade is already taken.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

6 days later

Nicole said

Thanks, I’ll have a look!

 

Lone Star: Western, Noir, Romance

 

I just watched the movie Lone Star.  It’s all around good movie.  The script and acting were solid, and the mixing of past and present was very smooth.  I wouldn’t call it a great movie.  It’s just quality Hollywood fare.

There was one thing that intrigued me about it though.  Outwardly, it was a contemporary Western with good guys and bad guys.  However, the story was more complex than good versus bad because the good couldn’t be determined until the truth had been discovered.  So, this is where it had an element of Noir to it, but nowhere near as dark and tragic as typical Noir. 

Where it was most like Noir was in the idyllic surface of a small town with old secrets that no one wants to talk about.  Along with this, there is the detective-like character who is determined to discover the truth no matter what.  He is the rugged american individualist type with his personal code of ethics, and that is where the Noir elements connect with the Western setting of the story. 

So, this Westernized Noir replaces the Noir oriental aspect with latino culture.  What would be the femme fatale is latino, but although she is part of the dark past she doesn’t try to pull the hero down.  Instead, there is an easy, almost too easy, resolution at the end.  Even though the past hangs heavy, the hero manages to escape its hold.  This is where it departs from most noir, but then again it’s not entirely unkown for noir protagonists to find redemption.  He avoids self-destruction because he is interested in the truth and not vengeance or even legalistic justice, and this aspect is pure Noir for the protagonists in Westerns aren’t usually all that interested in truth.

Some further clear elements of noir are the flashbacks.  It reminded me of Citizen Kane because a central character is never seen in the present even though everyone talks about him.  He is present by his absence.  The question is whether he was the good guy that everyone made him out to be.

The Western setting is interesting as it seems so different from Noir.  The latter emphasizes the human world of cities, and it’s as if humans are trapped in their own human world.  Lone Star begins with a scene of the wide desert which makes the human world seem small.  Noir films are filled with stark contrasts of shadow and light whereas the desert is brightly lit.  However, the desert creates a similar starkness that serves a similar purpose as that of Noir. 

The camera work mostly isn’t very much in the noir style, but there are scenes that have a noir feeling.  Near the beginning, a police officer approaches some young men sitting on a truck.  It cuts to an image of his approaching as seen in the reflection of a mirror.  The kid in the truck is working on it and so is laying on his back.  The kid looks up and sees (and the audience sees with him) the officer upside down.  The use of reflections and odd camera angles is something Noir uses often, but it’s only occasionally used in this movie.

The story felt very familiar even though it was done in a fairly complex way.  It wasn’t fully Noir or fully Western, but it melded them together.  Also, by mixing in the happy ending of a Romance, it tamed the darker streaks of both Noir and Western films.  Romances necessitate clear resolutions which neither Noirs nor Westerns need.  Especially for Noirs, clear resolutions are rare.  In Lone Star, the mystery is solved and the ending was a bit anti-climactic.