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Learning Life's Lessons. Lurve.
by Xavier Jones-Barlow

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Like it or not, we all succumb to outside influences all the time. No matter how strong we think we are. Movies are no exception, we watch stuff; we think about stuff. We anylise the feelings that were invoked while watching said movies, and we may even take some of it on board. People can be affected by movies in very different ways, to extremely varied levels, but the fact is; many people are in some way touched by the odd film or two.

I am no exception, I think movies can teach us, warn us and help us onto whatever path to enlightenment we have chosen. Many a time I have had to stop for a second, think about the consequences of any immediate action I am about to take, and then ask myself, 'What would Tyler Durden do?' I am not saying that this is particularly good advice, I have ended up in the odd mess over the years. There are however, plenty of films out there that have either affected me quite profoundly or imparted some nugget of wisdom. I'm not going to list them all, that would be stupid. I am going to identify some of the special ones, and the areas of my life they may have affected. This time; Love.

The concept of love or the ideology of romance, is really something that I doubt we will ever fully understand. Maybe when you're really old you might figure it out or perhaps some of you have already got it right but won't tell me because you are really mean. I haven't got a clue. In fact most of the time the movies make more sense. They certainly make it look easy. These are the three films that at this point in my life have taught me the most. Or mis-taught me the most, whatever.

SECRETARY. Hmmmm, you may be thinking. Is that not a film about kinky stuff? Isn't it that one where

weirdo James Spader slaps Maggie Gyllenhaal on the arse? Well yes, indeed it is. The film has gained the unlikely tag of being a little sordid, dirty even. The story of a fresh faced, fresh young lady bagging her first job at a law firm. Then falling in love with her clearly disturbed boss, who reciprocates, eventually. Parts of it are dark and the film was criticised for being to chauvinistic. It is also, in my opinion a very sweet film. All sorts of themes on show here; Confidence; Secrecy; Longing; Desperation. Love is also in there, I'm sure. What has it taught me? Well I think one of the many things I got from this quite brilliant film was that generally compatibility is a good idea. You don't always pick your partner, but it is a fine thing if you do share common interests. To some extent even a similar train of thought can ease things along, making any relationship that little bit more rewarding. Edward and Lee ended up OK in SECRETARY, possibly because they were both a bit strange but I think mostly because deep down they were both very shy and withdrawn. As a result they were able to feel comfortable with each other. See, sweet. I told you. Of course I don't think it has really sunk in with me just yet, give it time.

9 SONGS. By my second choice I would imagine that you just think me plain bizarre. It would be a fair point, but bear with me. 9 SONGS, if you have not seen it (and you could be lying), is narrated, kinda, by Matt as he flies over the Antarctic looking for ice (no, really). In his mind he is recounting his relationship with Lisa, an American student who he went to 9 concerts with, and had lots of sex. I really didn't like this film too much when I first saw it, but on repeat
Just not to feel left out, Audrey has something special in mind...

Just not to feel left out, Audrey has something special in mind...
viewings it has struck a few chords with me. Not all happy too, I hasten to add. The film on a whole just seemed too familiar to me. It turns out a lot of my past relationships could be defined by a series of sexual encounters. It really is not enough, there has to be a little more substance between the rompy-pompy. If I have to have a successful partnership with someone it has to be the opposite of 9 SONGS. Interesting things need to happen in the space of time that I am not getting my end away. That message, fortunately has been taken on by yours truly. But it is in no way how I live my life exclusively.

AMELIE. I seem to go about this film quite a lot don't I. Well what do you expect, it's one of my favourite films. Ever. If you have never seen it, stop reading this and go and rent a copy now. If you are in need of more convincing, go and read the reviews. They paint a pretty good picture. What is so special about AMELIE is that it is very much in favour of the idea that love really is a mystical sort of power. It is very optimistic and comes across almost dreamlike at times. It is an utterly fantastic film that I am sure has some lesson for all of us. It often teaches me different things at different times, at the moment I feel that the personal message to me is that sometimes it is worth just to let go and follow the signs. Those little strange things that happen that could be interpreted as pointers for your destiny. It may just be too late for me this time, but thanks to AMELIE I may just risk everything one day and be pleasantly surprised when everything turns out OK. Here's hoping.

So would you agree with me? Or is it totally different for everyone? Let us know either way, it's interesting.

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Xavier's Book Club
Every other Saturday

Xavier analyses film, literary. A bizarre melding of books and movies.

Other Columns
Other columns by Xavier Jones-Barlow:

My Month As A Teenage Girl

Mr Jones and the Shame of the Spolier Scolls

Fragment: Consider Revising.

Proof Reading The Movies #1

The Cinematic Chicken And The Literary Egg

All Columns

Xavier Jones-Barlow
Xavier lives in Scotland where it is very cold. He spends his time writing about live bands and people dreamt up in his bizarre imagination. Quite huggable .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Xavier Jones-Barlow by clicking here.

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