Sunday, July 10, 2005

My Sex Life, or How I Got into an Argument (Arnaud Desplechin)

This film, which only engaged me in fits and starts in terms of its writing and editing but had my complete attention in terms of its actors' phenomenal performances, got me thinking about something. I have a need to devour my interests. I want to see every movie, read every book, listen to every piece of music, and eat every meal that even vaguely intrigues me. I also want to spend lots of time with friends and family, and look at/watch a lot of paintings, photos, concerts, sculptures, prints, dancers, street musicians, people who can do a lot of high kicks, anybody doing anything weird in public, and maybe the occasional basketball game, boxing match, or professional wrestling exhibition. This need to devour as much art and life as is humanly possible clashes with the relative brevity of one human lifespan, the interruptions of living by a 9 to 5 job, going to the bank, buying toilet paper, etc., my own lack of ambition, and the demands that really ambitious art makes upon its viewer, in this case, me. This is an ambitious film and, though the acting touched me deeply, the film as a whole left me disengaged. This is an odd dichotomy, and for that reason alone, the film probably deserves another look. If I watched it again, I'm sure I would find more answers and more questions, and my relationship to the work would deepen. The problem is, it's three hours long and there's so much more left to see and do. If a film that left me lukewarm deserves further investigation, and I think it does, what of the work I think is brilliant? Maybe my life would be better spent if I picked 100 works of art spread across different media that had blown my mind the most and really get to know them in the depth they deserve. Wouldn't this be a more valuable way to spend my time? Maybe so. But can't I do both? I think I'll try. I'm rambling now. I guess my point is that life is too short, there's too much art (which is a wonderful problem and something to be thankful for), and this movie is worth seeing if you're interested in film. If you miss it, your life won't be damaged in any way, but, please, don't miss it because you're eating Pringles and watching "The Princes of Malibu." Have a good reason for missing it. Fill your life with meaningful things. I don't care what they are. I don't care if you like movies. Just like something enough to tear the ass out of it with your teeth. That's living. Don't let the bastards get you down. Life isn't so bad. Sorry this turned into a pep talk. Don't blame me, I voted for you. My other car is also a car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I couldn't figure out why I'd become so grouchy about art until about a year ago when I determined that my entire aesthetic theory (or at least my personal tastes) were intimately related with time. The equation is simple: I have no time, I love the shit out of music. (I bought a CD a week ago and I still haven't found 40 goddam minutes to listen to it. Again, those confounded Princes.) Ergo, I only spend time with music I love and now I love it even more. And by "music I love" I really mean a pretty narrow category and by "love it even more" I mean that I nearly ejaculate when I listen to the outro of "out ta get me." Ok, I'm half kidding. It was "Weed King."

By the same token, I do always search for new shit, so usually I grab stuff that I've just heard of from the library and give it from the time that I pull out of the library parking lot until the time I get home to make some sort of argument for its further monopolization of my time. And, sure, this is arbitrary and shitty and unfair in some cases, but at this point I pretty much know what I'm listening to, generically speaking. And the system is about 90% effective in knocking "average" and "ok" and "good" and "pretty good" clear off the radar. Because, really, who gives a fuck about what's average good or even pretty good? Will it really make an impact on me? Will my life be different because of it. No and no.

By the same token, I'm going to the Intonation thing in Chicago this weekend, so my radar my get a workout. Or I might just sit and read more Barry Hannah while hipsterdom unites. (Thanks for that.)

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