FILM 2013: #47. Walk Cheerfully

An earlier, and what might be considered uncharacteristic, silent film by Yasujiro Ozu, which was presented at a special BFI Members screening in the benshi style, with both musical accompaniment and a live narrator, translating the intertitles as well as performing the dialogue of the characters. It was a lovely experience and a reminder that silent films were anything but silent in their viewing. As for the film itself, it’s a fairly odd hodge-podge of gangster-romantic-comedy-drama, heavily influenced by American cinema close to the point of parody, and prone to overripe melodrama. That said, its quirks shine through (notably a brief energetic dance interlude here and there) and there is certainly a clear sense of visual direction and playfulness that elevates a pretty mediocre story. But still worth the time for any budding Ozu completist, and I’d certainly go see another film in a benshi presentation.

it’s 6 in the morning. i’m writing this from the plane, Florence to Amsterdam. that was without a doubt the fastest, most terrifying cab ride i’ve ever taken and the smallest airport i’ve ever been in. (you know what’s weird? showing up at an airport at a terribly early time in the morning, and realizing that it’s…closed. locked doors. an airport. weirder still, when someone comes to open the doors and you wander through a c o m p l e t e l y empty airport lacking employees other than the old guy that let you in.)i’m continuously amazed at the beauty of my last scenes in Italy. 2 months of magic wrapped up perfectly in my last snapshots.
3 am. as we’re putting our bags in the trunk of a cab, a lady breezes past us in the drizzle, cheerfully walking her dog along the tiny cobblestone street in the dark, in a sunny yellow rain jacket and matching hat.
a few minutes later, after speeding through the empty streets to angry sounding French rap, we were crossing the river that splits the city. we slowed a moment and I swear time stood still. perfectly framed photo. the city is lit up lightly on both sides, and i’m facing pointe vecchio, the famous bridge lined with gold shops stacked 2 stories up, the only one saved in world war II bombings due to Hitler’s having a soft spot for it. and as time stopped and I stared at this startling picturesque view, a single bolt of lighting came down and lit everything with an electric blue hue. pure magic. it hurt my heart.
and now, on the opposite end of the spectrum: my very last view. i’ve just climbed the stairs to the plane, i’m standing at the top platform in front of the doors, about to enter. and as i turn around one last time, there is this sliver of pure gold sun just beginning to rise over these lush Tuscan hills with little houses dripping down it. and it just kills me, the combination of beauty and finality of this moment.
so now i’m sitting here in the sky, thinking back.
2 fucking months. it wasn’t the instant cure i hoped for. i fought my own mind more than ever and often lost. but fuck, what an adventure. i’ve seen the stuff of fairy tales. eaten the best food and drank the best liquors and swam in the best waters. i’m overwhelmed with adoration for everything i’ve seen and everything i’m coming home to. it’s just the tip of the iceberg of course. but fuck, what an adventure