Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Chasing a Fantasy

After I recently saw the French film The Russian Dolls, I was reminded of a conversation I had from a vacation trip to Vancouver back in June 2000. To avoid the rain, I decided to grab a drink in a Martini bar. I ended up staying at the bar for a few hours as I was busy chatting with the bar tender, Adam, who decided to share a few of his martini recipes. In between moments of great conversation, I tried to sample some of Adam's proudest martini creations, one of which was an expresso martini, the first of its kind that I ever sampled. The martini bar no longer exists as I found out from subsequent visits but one conversation with Adam still stays fresh in my mind. It was regarding the movie High Fidelity. When I asked him if he had seen it, he replied after a few seconds pause that he made the mistake of taking his girlfriend to see the movie.

"Did you not like the movie?", I asked in a surprized tone.
"The movie was good but it revealed too many secrets!" was his response.

I knew what he meant as High Fidelity was a rare movie that gave an insight into how men thought about women and even approached relationships. Prior to seeing High Fidelity, a majority of Hollywood and Bollywood movies that I had seen showed men as either macho studs who rescued women, womanizers who dumped their lovers as soon as the sun rose or innocent guys who only eyed girls/women through a starry eyed purity. But what about the everyday guy who is conflicted about the love in his life? How does this man finally decide a woman is the one for him? The thought process of when a man finally realizes that his girlfriend is the love of his life is hard to capture on screen but thanks to Nick Hornby's novel, John Cusack's character is able to convey his feelings clearly in a very enjoyable film.

The Russian Dolls by Cédric Klapisch also follows a similar ground to High Fidelity in that the main character (Xavier played by Romain Duris) realizes that the models he chases are just fantasies while the down to earth Wendy (Kelly Reilly) is his true love. The Russian Dolls is an enjoyable film with some very quirky characters. Klapisch first introduced these set of characters in the 2002 film The Spanish Apartment and it is interesting to see the progress some characters make in The Russian Dolls. Although The Spanish Apartment has some hilarious moments and some tender relationship scenes, I prefer The Russian Dolls as that is a better developed and mature film.

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