Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

My mind and body is still full of Greece, but I have to adjust my settings for a northern country now. Things get all-confused, when you live between countries, don't they? We state we want the excitement of it, but it gets too hard to handle emotionally. In Athens, Greece racist groups beat up defenceless refugees in dark places, while the rest of us go out. We know it, but we try to pretend we don't, because we are scared, or just too busy with ourselves. One of these stagnant, pre-elections night, I went out in Athens, like everybody else, to watch a movie in an open-air cinema.

Wes Anderson's film that opened in Cannes Film Festival and was, surprisingly enough, candidate for the Palme d'Or, Moonrise Kingdom (2011), was the obvious choice -you know me, as a person who can easily connect to fairytales, I could see myself in those two kids with unhappy family background, solitary personality and great will to escape. That's what I do: I escape. Until those kids came to teach me a lesson, not only escape-wise, but also love-wise.

It was a warm night in Athens, pleasantly windy and the open-air or "summer" cinema (as we call it) Anesis  in the beginning of Kifisias street was very comfortable indeed. More than half of the audience showed up five minutes before the projection started -that's how we do it in Greece- and provided themselves with beer, nachos and a lot of water. The starry sky, the choice of flora near the walls, everything was very romantic, the perfect set for a children's tale told to grown-ups. But what about the film per se?

Moonrise Kingdom or better its director knows how to project innocence on the screen only too well. Up to you if you can take it or if you get it, even. The perfect plan for an escape is concocted between the two kids via numerous letters and with uttermost secrecy. The love affair itself was born exactly the same way: strictly no bodily-fluids involved. It was only letters, innocent love letters kept in a shoe-box; that was after their first short meeting that was perceived as a love-in-first-sight event. A lot of incomprehensible Benjamin Britten talk is involved till we understand why: the girl in pink was singing in the children's opera Noah's Flood and the boy in khaki invaded the boys-not-allowed dressing rooms to meet her. All that in a church, as Britten suggested, under the noses of parents and teachers. And that was the beginning of simple, true love.

"When you've only lived for 12 years, the first person your age who seems to get you may be the best person ever.", they wrote and they were right indeed. That's the ultimate perception of the soul mate: he is the one who gets you, the one who will fight for you and you two need to be together and nothing else matters. Ah, god knows how untrue this statement is, but I fell for it once again and the world of unhappy adults that Anderson put on screen made me dread my life once again. Tiny details taken from a retro story, like the girl's books, the French vinyl and the player, the cat food and all the rest just tells us how happy  and satisfied children are with details. They miss the big picture, and they do well. F.Scott Firtzerald in his list for the things not to worry about (written for his 11 year old daughter on 1933), he wrote:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up 
and the girl in pink in Moonrise Kingdom was exactly like that, and I envied her that warm and windy summer night; and it was like envying myself, a past self, lost in the tumult of adulthood, (maybe) never to be found again.

* Excellent performances from a not-too-hard-to-die Bruce Willis, the dedicated Scout Master Edward Norton, the annoying weather report "dwarf in the garden"Bob Balaban, a perlplexed Frances McDormand, the scarily strict Social Services agent Tilda Swindon and the usual suspect Jason Schwartzman. Let's not forget the children: not very expressive and seriously serious, confident and wise in an Anderson world that turned upside-down; the young fellows are what their parents and teachers are unable to be due to tiredness: dedicated.
** Favourite moment: Earrings made from hooks with two beetles hanging. The quintessential love gift for the brave ones; you have to bleed to put them on.


Harry P said...

Bill Murray, not Jason Schwartzman my dear Estelle...

estelle said...

No, I'm not sure I got very excited with Bill Murray:P Jason was better.