Friday, September 12, 2008

the very best forms of nostalgia

Today is the anniversary of the death of Johnny Cash. I will always remember the day and the night in New York City in 2003 with Iver and Joey and all that great music.

to me nostalgia is the feeling you have when you experience something in a way that is more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps because of memory, longing, the nature of the thing itself...

1. baseball-- be it current or classic, little league or the Red Sox in October...
2. Ballet and/or dance.
3. The streets between Beacon and Shawmut, and Mass Ave and Clarendon in the South End/Back Bay of Boston.
4. Records played loud in great rooms with wooden floors. Especially, in houses with dogs around...
5. Country music-- especially Dan Seal's All that Glitters isn't Gold
6. the places I've lived-- the towns, the houses, the streets, the cafes and bars...
7. Walking through an art museum/gallery-- in the past few months: Mass MOCA, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Clark Institute, the Institute of Contemporary Art (go Massachusetts!). Highlights were Jenny Holzer, William Kentridge, Robin Rohde.
8. Old boyfriends. (See #1-- related?)
9. Really great movies.

I saw two movies in the past week or so: Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Richard Linklater's Before Sunset (the 'sequel' to Before Sunrise). I really enjoyed both of them and found them both very provocative. They had some things in common, loads of magic hour footage, beautiful European locales and their native women, (Barcelona & Penelope Cruz, Paris & Julie Delpy, respectively), and a solid amount of ruminations of love, relationships, connections, lust & desire, responsibility, etc. Both films were fairly simple constructs-- relying primarily on dialogue and character with little to no major action sequences or special effects... yet both films managed to feel full and rich and exciting. It probably doesn't hurt that I am at an exact point in my life where I am extremely hungry for a European city and also simultaneously intrigued/disgusted by love-- but always FASCINATED.

One of the major themes of the conversation the characters in Before Sunset have, the conversation by the way which spans the entire film in real time, revolves around their decision not to exchange phone numbers when they met in Vienna nine years before. They talk about how when you're young you might throw something away, leave things to "Fate,' because even though you might feel a connection that feels special, you don't want to be tied down, you feel that you are changing so much, you assume that if you feel this connection now, you are sure to feel it again and again for the rest of your life... But as you get older you realize how rare that special connection with someone actually is.

In the earlier film the two characters had arranged to meet in 6 months but with the understanding that perhaps one or both of them would not show. This is very romantic of course, and Linklater even makes light of the characters' naivete a bit. Some tragic thing happened and one of the characters didn't show. With no phone numbers, or any other contact information, that was it for these two. Nine years later, Ethan Hawke is in Paris, reading from his newly published book-- the book he has written no less to sort of hold fast to that night in Vienna. Of course, Julie Delpy shows up. I don't want to say too much in case you want to see this movie, I recommend it-- even though it is SO simple and very romantic, I think it is very good.

Anyway, my friend Siri sent a link a few days ago of an anthropologist lecturing on love, sex, cheating, etc. and I found it really riveting. Here is the link to that:

1 comment:

David Sullivan said...

Great, heartfelt list of nostaglgia!

I found your blog because we both like the "40 Year Old Virgin". I am from Mass. (Grew up in Boston) and love the Cape pics, love the other Mass references. If you ever get nostalgic for Mass. when back in LA you can always check out my spot. My friend Tim calls it the "Masshole Memoirs". :)