Theme of the Month: Broken Embraces
Star of the Month: Catherine Deneuve
As the year comes to a close, I increasingly find myself at odds with what I really want. I’m not
talking about what I want out of life (thanks to a pair of killer journalism courses and a sweet gig at UW’s The Daily, I know for a fact that writing for a living really is the direction in which I’d like to go). I’m talking about my feelings toward the end of the school year.
A part of me is ready to revel in the joys of small town living and a thankless summer job that reminds one how nice it is to come home after work and not have to worry about what’s going to happen later in the week. But another part of me wants everything to remain the way it is now — to have these same friends, to have these same professional responsibilities, to have this same life. This is perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been: I’m living in this weird version of adult world just protected enough and just challenging enough to convince me that things can’t get any better.
And they will: occupational tasks are going to become more fulfilling, and I’m likely on the road to meeting even more people bound to change my life. But how sad it is to find yourself inching closer to the end of something good. Next week, I find out where I’m living next year as a resident adviser. In two, I sign up for a course load I already know is going to make autumn the most hectic period I’ve ever experienced.
For now, I suppose all I can really do is savor these moments as best I can. I have a lifetime ahead of me characterized by working and exploring and maybe even wedding and fathering. To treasure these mostly simplistic times is a must. They’re possibly as precious as the ones brought forth by a retrospectively imaginative childhood.
In response to this way of thinking, my mind keeps returning to ideas of Pédro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces (2009), a romantic drama which looks and feels something like Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). The film is a tragic study of obsessive love and the tolls it can take on one’s identity.
And yet the title is so universal: it evokes thoughts of being ensnared in an intimate moment, never happier, only to be interrupted by a force better to be kept out of the way. In some respects, I feel as though I’m being embraced by the highs that are collegiate independence and a false sense of adulthood, and they’re about to be broken by the hard truths to be faced later in life.
Nothing can describe my current frame of mind better, and nothing describes what kinds of films I’m interested in watching for the entirety of May. Which are, mostly, melodramatic pieces with just enough subversion to prove that a cockeyed version of over-baked theatricality really and truly can be refreshing once in a while.
To complement such pieces, I figure an actress of Catherine Deneuve’s renown is best suited. I’ve wanted to have an excuse to watch several of her works at a time anyway, but Deneuve has made a career out of riding on the highs of changing cinematic expectations. She almost strictly works with directors who strive to actively push against the comfortabilities afforded by conventional filmmaking, additionally redefining the meaning of the icy blonde beauty most had thought they had figured out when Grace Kelly became famous. I find her incredibly fascinating, and can think of no better actress to gawk over for a month.
I’m looking forward to exploring unfamiliar territories this May, and I hope you’re as excited about taking the trip with me. Happy watching and happy reading!