Moonlight: The Many Lives One Lives Often

Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight guards the fragility of what it shows to be a man. It gains most of its sentiment and volition in the way it’s told. Every nuance is engrossed in its own story. The film is divided into 3 chapters: from when the protagonist was a boy to a teenager and finally as an adult with roles to fill.

The film takes a microscopic perspective on the life of Chiron. The groundwork laid down to express such inexpressible feelings is difficult to compose. And yet, Moonlight draws you in so effortlessly into Chiron’s world. And through it all, the experiential capacity of this film is colossal.

We are all measured against our ephemeral presence in this reality. But to a young boy struggling with identity, this existence doesn’t feel so short any more. And to bring such fragile life questions with you and to have them unanswered as you grow can be even more daunting.

Moonlight makes this sentiment seem emphatically perceptible in a limited and questioning reality. Which is one of the most significant aspects of the film. To watch it is to endure some of the most important questions of existence and identity.

Chungking Express: Poetry and Melancholy At Their Best

A melancholic film that is comfortable within its own set of rules, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express is silence suffused with expression. The film is soft in the way that it’s unrestricted. It is packed with dialogue that transcends normalcy and with colors that beget an eccentric reality.

The film materializes more than just a feeling. Hence, it stands as its own defense against the justification of that feeling. And so there’s no knowing what lingers within the surface of the film; at least not until the deep presence of each character’s realities is sought. And to do so takes much courage and empathy which isn’t well-suited for a light-hearted audience.

The film is ambiguous but with its own rare personality. It digs into everything from loneliness, loss, heartbreak, and expectation to what it means to earn a living and how one’s livelihood can never be one’s true reflection of self.

The structure of the film and its narration take up a poetic place. The cinematography pulls you in, from time to time, in an engaging and comfortable manner. Until finally, it drops you into its intricate elements so thoughtfully and sentimentally – it’s discovering life in its purest form.

If you pay attention, you will find that this film’s details contain its whole. The gestures, stillness, and generosity of the first story are portrayed alongside the second. But fate is such that they’ll never meet. Maybe this is what gives Wong Kar-Wai’s films a unique and nostalgic sense of wisdom. To watch it is to instill essence into the simple as much as the grand scheme of things. A gentle, corrective reminder that the proof of our existence is not in what happens to us, eventually, but what we do, as much in our thoughts as in our actions.

The Double Life of Veronique: The Moral of Duplicity

A film intricately shot, as the life of Veronica, and then the life of Veronique, is reflected back and forth in a dreamlike and hypnotic way. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique illustrates the power of unaffected beauty. It’s a pure and sentient film. It moves as you do, in time and feeling, just when you’re about to grasp the whole of its atmosphere and rhythm.

The film is like a reflection you’d see on a deep and translucent patch of water. And you want to lean in closer and closer and tap the almost-too-perfect surface until you realize that it’s perfect because it is still. A film that evokes such a sentimental canvas is a film that remains unforgettable. There’s no other way to understand it, but with profound love and empathy.

Love and empathy for the lives that live parallelly to our own. The faces we make up and shed and go back to and that, in the end, perish only because we evolve and the masks don’t fit anymore.

The film is about identity and becoming it. Which often collides with the possibilities of human destiny. What’s so cruel yet honest about this film is that we are only capable of loving others in our thoughts, feelings, desires, and fears. This is not because we’re made from the same star-stuff. But we carry within us all of nature’s vibrations and hues; intricate, boundless, and personal. And so we can never truly recognize others as they really are but only as we are. And in that, is loving and living, as we know it.

Eyes Wide Shut: Down The Labyrinth Of Absurdity

Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut forces you to imagine the unimaginable and allows such foreplay to solidify into ripples that often disturb a still surface. These ripples are made from the stuff of dreams, fears, desires, and fetishes. No matter how vehemently we deny such invisibles in life. Sometimes out of sadness, loneliness, ignorance, or fear. They are often celebrated in our subconscious and never deny to show up in dreams.

Eyes Wide Shut invents such a fable and as a film comprising of such profound and strong characters, it is fulfilling and cerebrally fictive. It illustrates how delusional, limited, and too ‘into our heads’ we can be. That our external surroundings become fragments of not an objective reality but a product of our own imagination and fancy. What we seek, we shall find.

Stanley Kubrick’s masterful stroke on a blank canvas is done in strikingly audacious colors. This film uses language and gestures in the most idiosyncratic manner. With ephemeral subplots like the pianist, the hooker, the daughter of the owner of the costume store, and Mandy, it gains its dreamlike personality as much from them as from the lives of William and Alice.

Where the mind uses reason and logic to curb the imagination. The imagination, too, has its own intellect and intuition. Eyes Wide Shut is the consummation of this abstraction of the self. And it often shoots up to the surface in symbols such as the face mask, drugs, money, Rainbow Fashions, William’s New York State Medical Board Card, and the Christmas trees.

To watch it is to unmask the repressed nature of human’s spiraling sexuality and desires. And how such impulses are often compromised because of what we think is good or bad for us.

The Master: A Tragic Human’s Wake

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is one such film that I’d love to deconstruct over and over again to watch it from different perspectives. The film reiterates the hidden layers of one’s cognitive functioning veiling the boundaries of emotions. It’s a spellbinding film intended to introduce the concept of Scientology to those totally unaware of it. The concept of the “knowing” of knowledge. As vague as that sounds, the film makes a good show of it.

The movie has plenty of cues – elements if you will – that demonstrate an idea or a consciousness. Such as the motorcycle, the sand sculpture, and the intoxicating scene where Freddie Quell is made to walk to and away from the glass window. The film is coarse, imaginative, and persistent. But is it real? That remains a mystery – a reflection of its own inevitable path.

The Master is experimental and profoundly attached to its personality – which is nothing short of inventive and extraordinary. To watch it is to see the universe in a flux of fears, desires, emotions, and feelings. The pull of consciousness that separates a dream from reality as soon as you are caught in a wake. But is that necessarily an awakening? This is where the depth of the sea of limitations of knowledge runs the deepest.