When I want to feel at home I watch the trailer of the film Bright Star. It connects me so much with England, with Hampstead – and blue bells. The beauty of English blue bell woods reaching the horizon with their colour I didn’t know from Germany and in fact, saw them the first time in the film Bright Star where I couldn’t believe that they were quite real. The Blaue Blume – takes back to the German Romantic where it stands for longing which itself is just an unsatisfying translation for the wonderful German word Sehnsucht.
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.
When I was a child there was a popular fairy tale film “Das kalte Herz” (“Heart of Stone”) which was set in the Black Forest. However, because I grew up in East Germany, I had never heard of a Black Forest and hence, thought it must be some sort of fairy tale forest and certainly not a real place. – Now, thinking about London it quite feels the same. In Berlin, one is surrounded by images of London – on large advertising panels in the streets or on buses, in TV documentations, in magazines. I still remember exactly what these places feel like; I easily see myself passing by the places shown. And yet, while looking at them wistfully, they don’t seem to be real places but from a world far away behind an iron curtain.
I’ve liked being a foreigner. I’ve always felt as a stranger and living abroad amongst so many other strangers just seemed to be the right thing. It helped clarifying my identity. There is no country I could go ‘home’. It was here in London watching the Chinese film Summer Palace that I realised what it had meant to me that the country I am from did not longer exist. I am not looking for a home anymore but wonder how it will feel to live in a country that is supposed to be my home.
Miranda July’s new film The Future seems to be about a couple in a crisis and what happens if people try to realize their potential if they haven’t got much ambition or direction. But for me it’s a film about a stray cat, telling its story in a children’s voice, longing so deeply for a home and becoming somebody’s pet that it hurts. Paw Paw, old, injured, and born “outside”, has to wait in a shelter for 30 days until its “real life begins”, until the couple returns to take care of it. Paw Paw is literally counting the minutes of these 30 days when, just in the moment it believes to be saved forever, it realizes it’s dying. Paw Paw’s eagerly anticipation of a life without suffering and its subsequent disappointment, caused by the couple’s crisis, is one of the most harrowing things I’ve seen in cinema. This is not a story about a cat – it’s about living beings, beings with emotions, not getting what they want however deeply they wish for it.
I have been unable to eat Chinese dumplings since watching the clever homonymous Hong Kong film by Fruit Chan about a cannibalistic woman selling dumplings made of unborn foetuses which she claims to be effective for rejuvenation.
MR. FOX: Who am I, Kylie? / KYLIE: Who how? What now? / MR. FOX: Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I’m saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you’ll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth? / KYLIE: I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds illegal.Fantastic Mr. Fox, the fantastic film by Wes Anderson.
I’ve always admired the closing dialog of Godard’s filmÀ bout de soufflein which Belmondo plays a young criminal whose beautiful American girlfriend betrays him to the police. After the police shoot him in the street he dies not without sharing his spite:
MICHEL: Makes me want to puke.
PATRICIA: What did he say?
VITAL: He said you make him want to puke.
PATRICIA: What’s that mean, “puke”?