Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Missing Man.

I saw Titanic when I was 11 years old. Like most people in the planet I became truly obsessed with it. Curiously it happened around the same time when I'd become truly interested in films and wanted my life to revolve around them.
Part of my self-education consisted of me going to the video club and renting up to eight tapes to stay in with during the weekend.
One of my first missions was to watch every movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. One weekend I went home with Heavenly Creatures and Total Eclipse.

Watching Kate and Leo take on homosexual affairs after having watched them play the ultimate heterosexual couple was all sorts of shocking. Of course back then, I was aware of my own sexual orientation and like any prepubescent was both terrified and excited about the possibilities it offered me.

I remember watching Heavenly Creatures locked up in a room where to this day my parents probably thought was my porn space. It wasn't.
I remember thinking quite clearly that I assumed that any signs of homosexuality in the media I consumed would immediately point the people around me towards the feelings I had inside.
I vividly remember what then became my favorite shot in Heavenly Creatures,

It was the violent transformation of Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) into Orson Welles from The Third Man. I too understood why Juliet (Kate Winslet) saw this. I too was conflicted inside, I too felt like I needed to replace my own desires and fantasies with socially adequate figures.
The violent way in which Welles attacks her makes clear how Juliet is trying to fight something within her she doesn't understand.
I saw this movie for the first time almost fifteen years ago and this image remained burned in my subconscious ever since.
I never tried to commit a murder or developed violent tendencies, instead I chose to watch this moment as a life affirming instant, where Juliet's love for the movies expresses itself in such potent way that she fears its powers yet finds comfort in their magic, even if, in this case, it wants to kill her.
In the very same way the movies have remained with me and sheltered me from all fears, doubts and even sadness, they are the one thing in life I consider to be truly heavenly.


reminded me of this...

This post is part of Nat's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series.


Amir said...

isn't that the ultimate beauty of cinema?
i watch more and more films hoping to find scenes or shots or moments that connect with me the way this one does with you.
and when it does, it's truly heavenly indeed.

Luke said...

Oh gosh, this is so random that I just happened to have rented this from Netflix a couple days ago and now everyone's blog is plastered with it! I can't really read the little commentary since I haven't actually seen it, but I'm thrilled to give it a shot. :)


Oh Luke, you should have joined us then in "best shot"

Amir -- agreed. Jose, lovely post as usual. I love how personal you allow your stories and reactions to be.


Oh and also: isn't it funny how WATER is so crucial to Leonardo & Kate's filmographies both before and after Titanic.

Jose said...

Amir: exactly!
I've always thought that when I die, I won't see the whole "life passing by" thing, instead I'll watch a film reel with some of my favorite movie shots (a la "Cinema Paradiso" :P )

Luke: watch it and pick your own shot! I second Nat on this!

Nat: glad you enjoyed it! I love being part of this series! Hmmm fascinating about water indeed.

okinawaassault said...

I love how both our young gay minds were sort of shaped by this movie.

And I guess that's why this film is a less stereotypical depiction of homosexuality, maybe for that time. Their desires for both male and female blend in together. Pauline's more isolated and Juliet more worldly, but they regard their intense friendship as something that they can articulate in poetry and letters instead of just one word.