Film / Love in Cinema since 1940

Love in Cinema since 1940 (Part 6 of 8)

Part Six- Magnificence

One Glance and his body fills with Happiness, one Word and his mind explodes with Joy. One Touch and his heart melts with Pleasure, one Kiss and his soul ruptures in Delight.

To read from Part 1, click here

When you hear the word “love”, what do you think of? Preteen boys pulling on girl’s hair? Newly weds bickering at each other over breakfast? Or perhaps the ground shattering, grand saga about star crossed lovers defying all odds to unite as one and live happily ever after? More likely than not, you’d have picked the last one. Some might call it “unrealistic” and to an extend I agree, but it also cannot be ignored. So with that, I give you today’s topic is on the magnificence and grandeur of passionate love.

Ghost (1990), Titanic (1997), Love is Felt.

titanic-1997-2“Two films?” you ask. Truth be told, I just couldn’t decide which one to pick. On the one hand, I adore Ghost(1990) directed by Jerry Zucker. It has such an awesome chinese title (“人鬼情未了”, literally Undying love between mortal and ghost) that the title has been stuck in my head before I even knew it was a film. On the other hand, which list of romance film could be complete without including Titanic (1997) directed by James Cameron?

Ghost-1990_gallery_primaryGhost is a romantic fantasy film that follows the story of Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore). When Sam was killed by a mugger, he returns to the world as a ghost. One day as he was testing out his ghostly abilities, he learns that the mugging was not an accident and that Molly is in danger. Sam decides to enlist the help of a originally fraudant psychic to try and save Molly from a conspiracy.

By modern standard, Ghost is not all that great. The colours looks old fashioned, the special effects second rated, and the dialogues are cheesy and cliche. But when it first came out, it swept the cinema by surprise and captured the hearts of a generation. If I may be a little bit bold, I believe that Ghost is still a very touching picture if we could take a moment and drop the judgements. Because when we stop comparing and contrasting between the technicalities, then we can began to simply enjoy.

This is the same with relationships. To people who are on the outside, a relationship may seem typical, common, or even mundane. But that is because the people on the outside are looking with their head and not their heart. From a participant’s point of view, every moment is precious and to be treasured. To others, Sam might be already dead, and they won’t be wrong. But to Molly, he is still her guardian ghost and will be her lover until eternity.

ghost-1990Thematically, Ghost is very similar to Titanic (1997) directed by James Cameron. The plot follows love story between Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) on the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic. Much like Ben Hur and The Return of the King, a film with 11 oscars tends to get bashed a lot for being overrated. I think it’s quite a shame. When I look at it,  the 15 years old visual effects still looks stunning, the performance is still excellent, the attention to detail still inspirational and did I mention the sound design!? It is unmatched by any other film in history! In my opinion, Titanic really is a three hours, tear jerking epic-ness which stood the test of time. In case anyone feel like disagreeing on that point, when they re-released the film in 2012, the film became the second film in history to gross more than $2 Billion worldwide. (The first was Avatar).

titanicSo all the bashing and hating of Titanic just furthers my point about the harm of thinking too much. Maybe the plot is not deeply sophisticated, but who cares? Maybe there are imperfections here and there, but does it matter? Wouldn’t it be so much better if we would occasionally just take the time out and simply enjoy?

This is the same thing with love. I can sit here, and have been sitting here picking away at the details which makes up love, but sometimes all that thinking needs to stop just for a little while.  Too much head and not enough heart could easily ruin a film regardless of how good it is. Similarly, too much head and not enough heart could also easily suffocate love. As much as we all would like to believe we are logical and rational, we are all emotional beings with the ability to choose. But a decision as grand as love, with all of it’s patience, sacrifice, fragility and everyday-ness simply could not be sustained with a frozen heart.

A million barriers may need to be broken, a million difficulties may need to be overcome. But occasionally, it’s good to simply put down the thinking hats and let the emotions fly. Love is grand, love is epic. So let the heart go free once in a while, capture the moment and experience the love that feels.

Update: Click here for Part 7: Love is Madness

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