Many of the films we have watched in Contemporary International Cinema explore the nature of love on various levels. Some focus on the platonic aspect of human connection, some look at the sociological and nationalistic bonds that hold people together, and some delve deep into the inner workings of a lover's heart. In my paper I aim to recollect the different ways the directors and screenwriters have portrayed these emotions, examining The Birds, Lovers of the Arctic Circle, Central Station, Before the Rain and Hana-bi, and then to remind ourselves of the many ways in which these films share conceptual territory and remain the universal in their methods.
[...] To be fair, the love represented in this film is not completely unattainable to the viewer's empathy for it is about lost souls finding friendship and lonely soldiers finding family in unexpected places, which is not uncommon in the sea of human emotions. But the cinematic portrayal of these characters leaves them untouchable in their personas and irreplaceable in their story of connection and redemption. Josué are by no means a perfect match for each other. Dora had no sympathy for Josué even when she saw him the day his mother died, and Josué has no appreciation for Dora even when she spends her time and effort accompanying him on the first part of their journey. [...]
[...] The alternatives to this idea of the general lover are in Before the Rain and Central Station, both of which are specific to particular regions and contain more focus on the circumstances that surround the personalities in question. Before the Rain is not so much about love between characters at it is for family, culture and background. Even though Anne is caught in a love triangle where she must choose between the exciting and rugged Aleksander and the caring but boring Nick, these subjects do not constitute the core of the film's investigation into the nature of love. [...]
[...] The overwhelming nature of the scenery is breathtaking in itself but as a backdrop it merges with the story and joins the film in friendship like the two main characters merge themselves. Another aspect of all these films is their use of the vehicle to demonstrate togetherness or intimacy. Hana-bi uses the car that Nishi and Miyuki travel in as a bubble for the two of them, but also the scene where Nishi paints the car to look like a police car can also represent Nishi's outer appearance as a cop: perfect, yet false. [...]
[...] They can represent inevitability, and also a reminder of the loneliness that may ensue if Melanie and Mitch do not join together. The nature of the world around the characters cannot be too dissimilar from the nature that lies within. The nature in Central Station is less of a device as it is a fact: this is the landscape Dora and Josué travel through. It is beautiful, this is what they share, this is what the filmmakers share, this is where people live, this is a real place. [...]
[...] Mitch Brenner is played by Rod Taylor, also a typically attractive movie star, whose formless personality is demonstrated beautifully with Annie Hayworth's line about the coast road by San Francisco guess that's where everyone meets Mitch”) delivered with a foggy gaze out into nothing in particular. The characters in general have very little that defines them other than their cinematic heroism and classy charm, and Melanie and Mitch can be quite simply just another pair of lovebirds for viewers to live through. [...]
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