Thursday, December 1, 2011

Note: a repost from an article i've written in December 30, 2008 in a blog that i've discontinued

Al di là delle nuvole (Italy)
Beyond the Clouds (USA)
Jenseits der Wolken (Germany)
Par-delà les nuages (France)

Beyond the Clouds is a film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders (who directed Wings of Desire) released in 1995. This is the last film of Antonioni, who was a brilliant Italian director.

It is composed of four short stories linked by a journey of a film director played by John Malkovich, while thinking of his next film in Europe. The stories take place in Ferrara, Portofino, Aix en Provence and Paris with each story centered on a woman. They are Ines Sastre, Sophie Marceau, Chiara Caselli and Irene Jacob, four of the most beautiful women assembled in one film.

Each story at each end doesn’t explain the reasons by the characters became as such or why they acted that way. I think it invites as to speculate, to wonder why they are what they are.

I would define each story as, 1st – Unfulfilled love over time, 2nd – Meeting a person with Intriguing Personality, 3rd – Chance encounter leading to Infidelity, and 4th – Love at First Sight vs. Divine Love.

Of the four stories, I was struck by the first and last story.
The first story is about a travelling technician Silvano who encountered a roving teacher Carmen (Ines Sastre) while trying to find a hotel to spend the night in a remote town somewhere in Spain. She pointed the technician to a hotel nearby where he stayed for the evening. In the morning, the technician found out that the teacher was also staying the hotel. They had an interesting conversation throughout the day. In the evening, he escorted her to her room and said good night before going to his room. After closing her door, he hinted for the desire to enter her room maybe to have an intimate night together. But he never did. When he woke up in next day, he found out that she had already left.

After three years, they again met and continued their conversation as if time has not passed since they last met. He asked her why she left without saying anything and it was revealed that she was waiting for him to enter her room that night. She showed him to her home were it was revealed to she has been with a man for a year now telling him of a letter that her lover wrote while lamenting that “Words do us good even in writing/ A woman expects them/ She always does”. He left her house but returned immediately and the woman let him in again. They had an intimate moment but before it could be consummated, he left without saying anything.

It was clear that he loves the woman and continues to do so even after he left. Maybe the woman did love him too, hinted by a sign of sadness while watching him leave from her window. The question lingers that even though he loves her, why he not possessed her even though it was hinted that she wanted him to possess her. It may be that he has too much pride in himself or maybe it’s just plain foolishness on his part. We are led to speculate on the matter

Why did he left when? Did the knowledge that she is with someone else deter him from pursuing her even though he loved her immensely? Will he be contended that he just knew her? Is he afraid of what might have been? Was it sacrifice or pride?

I was left to wonder why he did what he did. I’m still wondering…

The last story was about a man who was fascinated with a girl (Irene Jacob) whom he just encountered while holding the door for her as she was leaving the apartment building. He followed her immediately and asked her if he could walk with him. She was heading to a church to attend mass at as nearby church. As he was accompanying her, he told her that he thinks that she is in love and the girl agreed. He assumed that she was in love because she was satisfied and they continued their conversation heading to church. They attended mass, however, he didn’t sit beside her preferring to side by the side of the church. He felt asleep and when he woke, the mass was finished and the girl had already left.

He went outside and tried to find her and caught up with her in the nearby fountain and then accompanied her back to the apartment building where they first met. They continued to talk even as the rain was about to fall. Upon reaching the apartment door building, she hurriedly went up the building to her apartment leaving the man. The man followed her up the stair. As she was about to enter her room, the man revealed that if maybe he could she he again because he was falling in love with her. And the girl said that it could not be so because the next day she will be entering the convent to become a nun. And she closed her door while the man outside dumbstruck of what he just heard.

Could that single meeting constitute as love or just infatuation? What would one feel knowing that the one he fell in love with was not meant for him? How could he react to that kind of answer? It’s human love versus divine love.

These two stories are opposite of each other, the first one didn’t continue a love he could have while the other cannot have the love he wanted. Both stories end in heartache. The stories didn’t mention how each story might have ended up in the future. The first one only implied that he continued to love her and I believe that he did.

Most people would say that we should move on with our lives when we encounter heartaches like finding out that we could never have the person we love or letting the love of our life continue without us to have a better life as I think the character Silvano did. He let he go because he thinks that he is inadequate for her. This is very painful to admit knowing that you’re not good enough for the person you love. However, I think it is even more painful to realize that you can never have the person you love even if you are at your best just like the boy who fell in love with the future nun.

Yes, we should move on but not necessarily lose the feeling for the person we could not have. Sometimes, moving on and letting go doesn’t follow the same path. As what I’ve read in a book, we should hold on the pieces of our broken dreams because they will serve as a reminder of the ideal that we couldn’t achieve. They will serve as our guide in formulating another dream.

I believe that love is a choice and we are free to choose who we love but we could never choose the person who will love us. We could only hope that the person we love feels the same way about us. Even if your stars decree that you’re fated to be together, until the choice is made, it is still nothing.

Make the choice, not because it is easy or is available but because you wanted that choice. Never settle for something, choose the best even if you won’t succeed. Settling for something is a continuous pain to suffer because deep inside you, you know that it is not what you wanted.

Rejection is easier to accept rather than the knowledge that you were just settled for.

Continue searching. Who knows? We may continue a love story from our past or create a new one. We could only hope for the best because we still can’t see anything beyond the clouds.