Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Volver or My Super Ex-Girlfriend?

by V (writer), Venice!, January 14, 2007


I have sort of a secret. It’s a DVD case in the likeness of a ladybeetle that used to be hidden at the very back of the closet. Inside this DVD case is a collection of deeply embarrassing movies.

Unable to balance their perception of me with the confusing, new, seemingly out-of-character information they’ve discovered, most acquaintances recoil in horror once they discover my secret. I actually read the entire, silent progression on their faces, from registration of what is going on, to shock, to deep and probing analysis – a desperate search for some kind of meaning – to pity, to dismissal (of me as a potentially interesting and intelligent friend). It’s always as though I have let them down.

Those who know me well – and who have not succeeded in changing me - thankfully find this exceedingly embarrassing problem of mine, charming.

It all started in my early teens. When I was in high school, I was too cool for school (in my own head). I thought myself of superior taste and intellect to the mere rednecks around me (as I perceived it in my fourteen year old estimation). I was sent from an international school in Papua New Guinea, to a Catholic girls’ school in the city of Brisbane, Australia; Brisbane is to Sydney like Mississippi is to New York state.

I refused to watch whatever movies were playing at the local multiplex cinemas, preferring to order the trickier-to-get art house, independent, documentary and foreign films. I did not watch most things American, certainly nothing mainstream (with the exception of a few John Hughes films), and most of my idols appeared in French film.

So affected was I, that I took up smoking at quite a young age (a habit that I’ve only come to quit with great difficulty at 31 years old). I wore a ‘Morticia’ shade of lipstick and fingernail polish – not to be mistaken with belonging to a gothic subculture. And, not satisfied with extending my affectation to only film, I think I managed somehow to get through high school without having ever bought a teen or women’s magazine. I didn’t go to my school formal (you call it ‘Prom’), something I considered silly and juvenile and an extraordinary waste of energy. I preferred to expend my energy hatching plans of escape, to head off into the world, traveling as soon as the school bell rang for me for the very last time.

Just before I turned 25 however, something happened. I awoke one morning with a decided feeling of emptiness, a feeling that something was definitely missing. I shook off parallels to the Krzysztof Piesiewicz film, ‘La Double Vie de Veronique.’ No, my doppelganger did not just die, it was something else. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never been a teenager. I had never allowed myself all that mindlessness, silliness, girlishness and misplaced and overblown intensity. I’d never played spin the bottle (I still haven’t).

Like a marijuana smoker who’d just blown a joint, I was suddenly ravenous. I ran straight out and got the Matrix. That alone sparked a Keanu Reeves film renaissance (literally someone who I could not previously even bear the sight of). I googled him and downloaded screen savers. For months my Fiancé put up with that horrendous phase.

In hindsight, they were probably the good old days. It all just moved on down hill from there. I am still loyal to Mandy Moore and my Fiancé is still with me, despite having to accompany me to a preview screening of ‘13 going on 30,’ - he wore sunglasses, a high collared trench coat and hat. And to this day, I think he honestly hasn’t decided what’s worse - having to see ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for the second time or suffering through Lars Von Trier’s, ‘Dancer in the Dark.’ He was the only person in the cinema who stood and cheered when Bjork finally met her end.

It is not that I have forsaken my love of independent, art house, documentary and foreign films, it is simply now that my repertoire has broadened. I now know how to not analyze. I have learned how to let go and allow silliness in and know that, that’s okay. For me, these films are like junk food for my brain. Sometimes, I want tuna capaccio with truffles and sometimes, I want a big, drip-dripping-down-to-my-elbows-greasy, fat burger. And as many of you will know, when you want the latter, there is nothing on earth that you can substitute with.

Some afternoons however, I want both and on a recent afternoon, I hit the cinema for Volver and Netflixed ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend.’

Despite ‘Volver,’ not being Spain’s most acclaimed and much loved Director, Almodóvar’s finest work to date in my opinion (but who’s going to listen to my opinion now eh) it really is a sensitive, eclectic and enjoyable film, that dabbles delightfully in Spanish superstitions, family secrets and the strength of the sisterhood. Embracing three generations of women of the same line, a woman returns to her village after her death, to put right that which she left unfinished while with the living. In doing so, her timely reappearance is the source of much comfort and healing to the daughters and granddaughter she left behind. Any women out there needing to spend quality time with a Mother, Grandmother or sister should absolutely set a date for this film. Almodóvar understands women and this is a beautiful and compassionate homage to the power of a Mother’s love. Penélope Cruz is dazzling as young Mother and martyr.

‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ … Uma looks great in a superhero outfit.

About the Writer

V is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Volver or My Super Ex-Girlfriend?

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By Betty Zou on January 29, 2007 at 04:28 am
Hi, I just discovered this website and love your article! Don't we all have our box of shame, whether it's films, music or books?
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By V on January 31, 2007 at 02:20 am
Sorry for the tardy response but, "Thank you! And welcome!"
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By El_Che on May 24, 2007 at 10:37 pm
WOMAN! when I behold thee flippant, vain, Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies; Without that modest softening that enhances The downcast eye, repentant of the pain That its mild light creates to heal again: E’en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances, E’en then my soul with exultation dances For that to love, so long, I’ve dormant lain: But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender, Heavens! how desperately do I adore Thy winning graces; - to be thy defender I hotly burn - to be a Calidore - A very Red Cross Knight - a stout Leander - Might I be loved by thee like these of yore. John Keats, Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain , Published 1817. i am quoting Keates...You must of inspired something.
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