Thursday, August 12, 2010

Documenting Life

Tradition: Documentaries

Story: When I was in school my dad took me to a documentary call “What the Bleep Do We Know?” It was a cool look at quantum physics, neurology, etc in relation to metaphysics and spirituality. When I saw it the first time I thought it was weird. I know there is more I could gain from watching it again, but I have yet to revisit that particular documentary.

This weekend I was bored and lonely so I decided to turn on Netflix streaming. I made the mistake of watching a film that killed my soul. In an attempt to construct a new soul I turned to 2 different documentaries. The first one was about Origami and there was some interesting artwork, mathematics and creations, but nothing that changed my life. Then I turned on “Man on Wire”, a documentary about Philippe Petit and his extraordinary feat crossing between the two world trade center towers on a tight rope.

The documentary was interesting, but I didn’t think it was life changing until the end. There was a whole group of people who worked with Philippe to make the act a success (he did successfully perform for 45 minutes and is still alive today). One of them was a lady and at the end of the documentary she explained that after they finished the project she knew that Philippe was going in another direction and so was she. It didn’t seem mournful and it didn’t include an extreme falling away or a slow progression. I found this refreshing and then the film went back with Jean-Louis Blondeau. I bawled. Jean-Louis was struggling to keep composure as he explained that the friendship ended at the completion of the feat. Again, there very easily could have been a fight, but that wasn’t explained in the film. Throughout the movie it was clear that Jean-Louis thought the rigging of the wire was sub-par and that Philippe could have done more preparation, yet he expresses these opinions as facts with no malice. Jean-Louis’s breakdown represents to me the conclusion of both the epic high-wire experience and a friendship. Jean-Louis’s tears influenced my own and there I found an epiphany.

Relationships are traditionally treated as enduring, eternal, long-suffering, a burden, good, bad, wonderful, devastating, but mostly we talk about relationships as having a beginning, but no end. There may be a falling out, a slow drift apart or any other such thing, but usually no definitive ending. This leaves an opening for a reunion, a prodigal son moment or some other romantic notion. This movie made me contemplate the idea that there actually can be an ending. You can end a relationship without malice, without an argument, without dramatics. I immediately found peace, relief and general comfort in this idea. It isn’t that I have any friendships I particularly wish would end, I just love that the possibility exists to define an ending to a part of life without drama. This is not a new concept or idea to me, but one that I had never taken the chance to internalize, really apply to myself and my own relationships.

10) Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquival - It was like reading a Telemundo soap opera.
11) In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O'Brien - I prefer his novel The Things They Carried
12) Coastliners, Joanne Harris - Interesting, slow novel, great beach read
13) Holy Fools, Joanne Harris - Not a fan
14) The Ladies of Garrison Gardens, Louise Schaffer - Enjoyable, small twist in a predicable ending
15) Summer People, Brian Groh - Bland book


Anonymous said...

Philippe's friendship with Jean-Louis Blondeau did not end just after the walk; it looked that way because the director chose to edit JLB's interview that way. Additionally, what little Jean-Louis knows about rigging, Philippe taught him. So again, that was the director's choice.
FYI, the friendship ended when the film came out. That was Blondeau's choice, not Philippe's.

pigbook1 said...

That is great insight! Thank you for that information I didn't know. I don't think that will have an impact on anything I felt after the movie, but thanks for the information!