Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Kieran I want to watch Dancer in the Dark

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

On more than one occasion I’ve gone into the library with the intension of hiring a movie, walked up and down, round the aisles, scanned the spines, circled the library, picked up, put back, but eventually ended up shrugging and leaving empty handed. Some of the same titles now leap out convincing me that I’ve seen them just because I’ve picked them up and read the backs so many times. 

I once read the Paradox of Choice which promised to ‘explain why too much of a good thing has proven detrimental to our psychological and emotional well being’ a bold statement some might say and the conclusion was equally disquieting ‘As the number of choices we face increases, freedom of choice eventually becomes a tyranny of choice’. Which seems a bit dramatic when relating this to looking for a movie but the back of the book told me: ‘he makes the case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety and busyness of our lives…he offers practical steps for how to limit choices…and derive greater satisfaction from the choices you do make’

Now that sounds a bit too much like self help but kind of makes sense when I’m staring blankly, overwhelmed, facing rows and rows of film titles and not one I end up hiring or buying. It’s the same at massive supermarkets; all that choice but I can’t think of anything to cook, huge book stores or looking on amazon; I have to leave or click away after a while scared rigid at the thought that I will never have time to make even a slight dent at reading lists or when I find myself stuck at a restaurant with a menu so long that there can’t be any ingredients left in the world (it helped when I turned veggie which reduced choices overnight). I remember trying to choose a tent to buy once; after two hours the patience of family and the guy serving had warn inextricable thin.

And so with all great 21st century inventions there is a label for this; consumer hyperchoice so it’s always easier for me to take recommendations than go blindly into searching for a movie; Dancer in the Dark was such a recommendation.

A little bit of a person comes with the attachment to the movie/book or whatever when recommended. Their character and proverbial fingerprints come with it; what did they like/dislike about it, when and where did they watch, read, see it; how did they find out about it. It’s a little window to the soul. I love it when second hand books are inscribed so come with an unknown history and when someone gives me a recommendation. Having gone through the whole look of distain with Last of the Mohicans, admitting that I’d never watched Dancer in the Dark was like sticking pins into Hannah so it was put on the list through a strong recommendation.

And thank you for the recommendation; Bjork was incredible, the impromptu musical numbers a surprise, the best quote being when Bjork is talking about loving musicals but annoyance at the last song: “Because you just know when it goes really big... and the camera goes like out of the roof... and you just know it's going to end. I hate that. I would leave just after the next to last song... and the film would just go on forever” that felt (rightly or wrongly) like a fingerprint or window. I was braced to cry as the film had been described as the saddest movie ever made that only took the opening credits for Hannah to reach for the tissues but thanks to the warning I was ready and so the tissues laid dormant.

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