if love was left to the saints

…how poor our (cinematic) life would be.
Thankfully, there are antidotes to Valentine’s Day sugar-rush.

  • Paris, Texas (dir. Wim Wenders, 1984). The spell of love, in all its beauty and pettiness. A lingering, melancholic, tender cinematic poem.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee, 2000). Love and its hazards, a recurring theme in Lee’s films. This one i choose for being less of a caution and more of a celebration, of love young and mature, wild and everlasting.
  • The Piano (dir. Jane Campion, 1993). Love as an awakening, a negotiation, a give-and-take of body-and-soul; something beyond words, and more like music. An archetypal tale of love through a woman’s eyes.
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman (dir. Hector Babenco, 1985). Two men locked together in a prison cell; two different species discover their common humanity, through a web of romance, reality and make-believe. A complex tale on the nature of love, imagination, freedom. With William Hurt and Raul Julia at their finest.
  • Farewell My Concubine (dir. Chen Kaige, 1993). Love, art, and reality; the private and the public. The tumultuous relationship between two actors of the traditional Chinese opera, with China’s 20th century history as the backdrop. A visually ravishing, in every way awe-inspiring film, both epic in scale and hauntingly personal.
  • A Short Film about Love (dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988). Sensitive, dreamy, earnest, clumsy, elevating young love, awakened to reality. It happens in Poland of another era, but it is a timeless tale of all us hopeless romantics.
  • The Consequences of Love (dir. Paolo Sorrentino, 2004). Falling – in love, and from grace. Toni Servillo’s rigid, middle-aged loner gradually loses all dignity and self-control when he experiences unlikely, hopeless, transforming love. A moody, hypnotic, uplifting downfall.
  • Secretary (dir. Steven Shainberg, 2002). Deviant love – an original, daring and endearing undertaking. Humour, darkness, provocation, wit, in a fine balancing act. Especially from the two leads – James Spader, who is no stranger to risqué roles, and delightful, courageous Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • Dolls (dir. Takeshi Kitano, 2002). Love in eternity. Three stories, one perpetual cycle. Poetic reflections on love lost and found, painful and redemptive, bonding and binding. Love as a decision, an obsession, and the mystery of free will.

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