Went to the house of some friends tonight to eat dinner and watch Ozu’s “Tokyo Story,” which tore my heart out a little. It’s one of the most beautifully framed/shot movies I’ve ever seen. It’s about an elderly couple who visit Japan to see their grown children, who are too busy and self-absorbed to spend much time with them. This is my first holiday season away from family. The film struck a chord. I watched it with my friend Raphael’s mother, Theresa, a pretty, funny Baltimorian who bakes a mean stollen. She’s been in town a while and when I asked her about the highlights of her trip, she told me of some adventures, and then said that mostly, she was happy to see Raphael and Barbara’s home and be invited into it, made a part of it. Tonight, I felt part of it too. More than the Christmas festivities–the movies, the tree, the Nutcracker and whatnot–the best part of this Christmas is that, though I can’t be home (perhaps I am one of those selfish busy children), I finally feel like I’m making one of my own. And this makes me feel closer to my own family, even so far away.
Um, and the other movie of note I’ve seen recently is “Black Swan,” which, if you haven’t seen it, do. An older lady approached us after the movie and told us, somewhat puzzled, that she thought it was incredibly stupid but also great. Best after-movie reaction ever. What makes it great is that it employs genre tropes to transcend genre. This, I think, is the beating heart of really good story-telling.