A film about my people: Alain Resnais’ Coeurs, or Private Fears in Public Places (a gawky title taken from the source material, A. Ayckbourn’s play). Half a dozen middle age adults try to make the Connection. None succeeds. No Hollywood Happy here: it’s a rom-com for adults.
It’s snowing in Paris, city of eternal spring; how appropriate, for romance, like song, is full of spring. And this is its opposite: it’s the winter of our discontent, the winter of the loners. It’s a patently fake Paris and a patently fake snow falling for an improbable four days. At one point it even snows inside. The film’s tone is bittersweet.
The youngest character keeps being stood up on blind dates, and when one of her dates does show up, she’s so excited that he turns out to not have lied about his height, age, etc. I felt great empathy for her, for the waiting, and the awkwardness of meeting a stranger and having to perform; that mixture of hope and anxiety that animates her.
Sometimes I don’t know why I bother putting them through it. Sure, I can go to a Cyclopean without much trepidation, but it’s the next steps that get me. Being at heart fully developed as an individual (just bear with me here), I don’t need anyone to make my life complete. But I would like someone to share with, someone to complement. But I’ve reached a stage, or an age, where my potentials are also autonomous; they’ve figured out their lives, too. We know how to be alone. (We also know that the relationshipped aren’t free from loneliness.) So there’s no love-at-first-sight (lust? plenty); it develops through the time of relationship, but the ambiguity of working towards that relationship is where I fail. Without a spark to inspire me, I can’t light a fire, or, evidently, catch one.
But moving right along, I watched Delicatessen for another French take on l'amour fou. A little Sullivan's Travels of the heart, as it were -- you know the story, not the Philadelphia story, where the famous director wants to be all serious and find out about the down and out so he can make a Big Important Statement about them, and discovers, through Veronica Lake's waterfall of blonde, that what the Peeps want is Chaplin outwitting the cops, somebody taking a pratfall, somebody else getting a pie right smack in the kisser. Or a crazed butcher coming at you with a cleaver...