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Human connection in international cinema

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Lovers of the Arctic Circle and characterless characters.
  3. Symbolism in The Birds and Lovers of the Arctic Circle.
  4. Portrayal of love between two very specific characters that arises from a unique experience in Walter Salles' Central Station.
  5. The love between Dora and Josué.
  6. The circular theme that lies in Before the Rain and Lovers of the Arctic Circle.
  7. The nature in Central Station.
  8. Conclusion.

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. [...]


[...] One unifying aspect of all these films lies in their use of nature as a symbol and device throughout their stories. Hana-bi translates literally to and referring to the fire that burns within all life as it blossoms outwards before withering and dying. The fireworks in the sky explode outwards and then fade away for Nishi and his wife. One of the most powerful scenes is when Miyuki waters the dead flowers and the man yells are you watering those flowers? [...]

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