Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blue Valentine (2011)

Blue Valentine (2010/11)

With great inertia, Blue Valentine takes us to a space in-between the beginning and the end of a romance, and attempts to piece together a semblance of what was lost along the way. It has no definable answer to
"what went wrong" other than what the films inconclusive ending symbolizes, and yet within the journey from "love at first sight" to a shattering disconnection of love and trust, the audience is torn from the main characters by removing all sense of hope that things will "work themselves out". The film's narrative is juxtaposed between the past and the present in very quick character driven scenes that allow for each character to define who they are individually, and then coincide that with the stasis of their communal identity in the present day.

Ryan Gosling's Dean is a man who attempts to do good by Michelle William's Cindy by remaining the man that he was when they first met. His ambitions are limited, and his sacrifices are all in part due to his commitment to his family. Cindy, however does seek out the absolution of her broken past by dreaming of a life moving ahead; but becomes complacent when she finds that this dream is not shared by her partner in any form. They are two lost souls that have moved on without one another, even though they have been together the entire time. It is not surprising then that the greatest representation of their "past life" resides in their daughter Frankie, who has become the initial bond between the two love struck strangers in both the beginning and the end.

Both actors are quite fantastic in their roles, and the film does a very nice job of adding a much needed ambiguity clause to a genre that seems to be altogether too predictable. It is rather jilted when it attempts to define its initial purpose; but with a film such as this perhaps a postmodern outcome is what director Derek Cianfrance was attempting to do in order to separate the characters from their internal transformations. Without the use of dramatic external factors, we see the dissolution of the characters from within, which creates a much more hardened view of romance than one would find in similar pieces. To a more critical degree the film does seem a bit unfocused visually, as the cinematography changes shades and tones too many times to count and suffers from a subtle lack of establishing shots; but yet it does manage to transition from the past to the present without too much detraction.

Blue Valentine is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recurring Dreams IV: I Saw Something So Severe I Had to Open My Eyes From Fear

Rabbits running.
Running and running and running. This is a sight to see, a spectacle. Along the horizon I see nothing but endless cliff-tops. I am laying on my back, looking straight into the vibrantly orange sky. I suppose this is Arizona, or perhaps New Mexico, or maybe someplace that only exists because I want it to. Dali probably would have imagined such a place, or maybe Pablo Neruda; although I cannot speak for either of them on whether this is a good or bad thing. The rabbits sniff my fingers and scurry around my torso in an attempt to bunch up. They see me as a guardian of some sort.

People coming.
Coming and coming and coming. A seamless mirage, soon comes to focus- this a band of souls bound by a single purpose, which has yet to come to my attention. As they come closer I can see the fiery blaze in their unforgiving gaze. Every single being in this formation has come to this place, this possibly imagined place for a reason. Where did they come from? I haven't a clue. Where will they go? I can only imagine, perhaps I should try and make out what it is that I can now see them carrying... possibly then will I know the truth of their journey.

A bound Bull.
He is strong, and yet weakened; lost, and yet discovered; crazed, and yet brilliant. I see his face, asunder with the fury of a thousand rotating suns. It is strange to see an animal make the kind of emotion that I see him making, which goes from half dazed lethargy to a shriek of panic. My eyes begin to water. At first it is slow and unwilling; but soon I am gripping my chest and feeling my shirt become wet. The rabbits bunch around him in consolation. These people! How could they take such a creature without its consent? Where will they take him?

Stunted words.
Short, meaningless, and unheard. The crowd of deliverers come to a central point, just below the pillar I sit upon. I continue to shout to them, to try and dissuade their actions; but it is of little use. I think of jumping over the side, but suicide has never been in my vocabulary, nor could I imagine what good it would do this poor creature. He is struggling. They are stronger. He is calling. They will not allow him any further. I see, for possibly the first time but cannot be sure- a hole. Around this hole the fiends line themselves as they throw the bull into the middle. He stands for the first time, and soon falls from weakness. I attempt to throw stones down to the people but they disintegrate after I release them.

Hopelessly torn.
In clouds of dust the squatting mob begin to hurl flames upon the bull, and in this flurry of fire I can see his true nature. He is, in essence, a creation unbound and unimagined. He has broken through to reach new heights, new levels, new patterns-and yet... he is different to them and so he must go. In the few minutes, or possibly hours that I have waited, I have felt a connection from this distance which will now find its release. I call out once more; but he is gone. His light diminished by a puff of thick black smoke and all that I had seen soon became as it was. It begins to grow dark, as the sun finally begins to set, and I am all but alone. The rabbits and I huddle together as I gaze upon the stars from my original state.

Hours pass and night comes.

They are beautiful you know, the stars that is. In a swirling huddle of massive energy the creation is seemingly endless. All except for that spot, I note to my furry companions who are still shaking from my pain. I turn my head and in the spot I thought had been bare, now carried a distinct light- now flashing back at me. I begin to close my eyes and drift.

I saw something so severe that I had to open my eyes from fear...
and I am now to fall awake....