Film Selections 07: Pain
Pauline Kael once said, “A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again.”
Pain is a result of both melancholy and truth. Suffering comes from these two feelings and there is only so much that we can stand until we cannot forbear them for any longer. Unconsciously, it starts when telling signs like tears begin pouring down, a crushing pressure builds up in our chest and we tremble from the inside, as our insides pour out completely into the open world. And then, just like that, we birth our pain.
Thankfully, there are millions of ways to expel this pain in our hearts. Personally (to no one’s surprise), my favourite way to expel pain is through films; with actors and actresses acting out my flammable sentiments in their either over-the-top portrayals or understated methods; with cinematographic techniques that shows me a much needed visual catharsis; or even dialogues full of unspeakable and inexpressible emotion that I struggle to say to my own painful self. For me, a great film both heals and calms me but also exposes the pain that I’m struggling with, forcing me to deal with its aftermath.
For me, watching films is a way to understand myself in the midst of loss and find my way back home.
To perfectly encapsulate this absurd tactic, let me present to you the five films that can make you feel and embrace all the pain that you’ve been hiding.
MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (Dir: Noah Baumbach, 2007)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, Zane Pais, John Turturro
To spread hurtful things casually is always fun, but try to not do that the night before your sister’s wedding.
AUTUMN SONATA (Dir: Ingmar Bergman, 1978)
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, Lena Hyman, Erland Josephson, Gunnar Björnstrand
Watch what happens when you eat your pain away in front of the one who inflicts you the most pain.
THE HOURS (Dir: Stephen Daldry, 2002)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, Stephen Dillane
A story about Virginia Woolf writing Mrs. Dalloway, a housewife in 1950s reading Mrs. Dalloway, and a woman living the plot of Mrs. Dalloway.
AWAY FROM HER (Dir: Sarah Polley, 2006)
Starring: Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Nina Dobrev, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy
It’s like THE NOTEBOOK, but better and more gut-wrenching.
BIRTH (Dir: Jonathan Glazer, 2004)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Cameron Bright, Danny Huston, Anne Heche
A Nicole Kidman stunner where she stares into absurdity and everything is both thrilling and painful at the same time.