Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Another Woman - Woody Allen - random thoughts

(Non-disclaimer: There are hardly any spoilers in this piece of discussion.)

This is common if I have to guess; you see that woman, typically older than you are - on the street, in the television, or at a party – and from the way she dresses, walks, talks and carries herself, you wish fleetingly that when you’re of that age, you’d like to age like her.

You like the compose and the poise they wear. You like how they seem to hold themselves in high self-esteem, how they just about perfectly do themselves up, how they very naturally demand respect and specific individual attention from those around, how people listen when they speak. Poignant could be the word. Or, calm. They often seem invulnerable. Neither would anyone dare cross a certain invisible border they draw around themselves, nor would anything else seem powerful enough beside their composure, to be able to etch a scratch and shake it any bit. They are unperturbed, almost always.

They seem to have struck that right balance, that tight rope walk, which many a philosophers filled up pages with and many a psychologists filled up their chambers talking about. Yes, that kind. You do want to age like them. And until then, if you were in doubt about things you often cannot trust others to resolve, you approach their kind in case you know one closely enough. They look like they have solved their own life’s equation just perfectly, and maybe could even help in yours. You trust that they got what others chase – fulfillment. They seem to be at peace, and settled.

You always wanted to be like her, didn’t you?

So did I.

In fact there’s this one female actor, a leading of the yesteryear era, who I idolized quite in this way. Call it coincidence, but the same day that I watched the film “Another Woman” - which by the way has just this kind of a personality for its subject and which we’d come to in a minute – I also watched an old, recorded episode Bengali lifestyle based programme where this lady actor who I’ve idolized for years was the guest being interviewed. Just as she always does, she fluently and affluently spoke about how life and living is so very beautiful and each morning has something in store for each of us and how she is so happy because there’s a hidden fountain of happiness seeded somewhere inside her. I’ve heard her say such things before, and had trusted her. Not that I want to easily allow myself become a cynic overnight – in this case, not even overnight but over plain six hours – but then, having watched and mused over Another Woman just the same day evening, I think I can now see through her words better. Not cynically, I hope, but more practically than before.

Now let me get back to the film. Or wait, let’s not do that. In fact as I now think of it, it’s not about the film much. It’s about that realization, that myth that I want to bust in myself. That seeing through, that seeing past the surface and the assumptions. So let’s see what I learnt. (Yes, this is my blog. I decide!)

There’s merit, indeed, in being so overtly poignant; only, it comes at a dear price.

That is, if you're like Another Woman, you often are no longer yourself.

Like, you don’t any longer let yourself feel. You cannot confess to even yourself your deepest fears or earnest regrets. You cannot stop and think and reflect. You cannot vent out. You will indeed be very presentable, but that’s perhaps because you’re way too predictive and do not let your impulses play. You look at the world from two inches above, or worse, the world thinks you do. Your silences at times make others feel they’re judged; your poise sometimes lead people to suppress what they feel when they’re around you. You become unapproachable. You become distanced. You are too chin-up to at times bend down and sulk, or whimper, or shed a tear or two. You’re too elegant for anyone’s constant company, or continued comfort. You’re too pricey to pay a price for.

Of course there’s nothing wrong in carrying yourself well, with dignity and poise. There’s indeed a lot in knowing what to say, how to walk, how to have an image people may look up to. But I’d say - beware, don’t close all the cracks and the flaws; because, that’s where light comes in from, they say. Keep yourself open, set yourself free, let yourself out once in a while, too. Be inconsistent, that’s where the fun is. Fall in love, be cheated; let yourself be fooled sometimes. Be unadulterated, at least once in a while.

Because, if you don’t, they don’t plain take them away. They store them them up deep inside. And just about when you think you’ve have almost successfully made yourself what you wanted to make, your deep-seated feelings – fears, desires, vulnerabilities, regrets – they all come haunting. That once they do; perhaps in shape of a dream or a hallucination you can brush off like they never happened; and yet, not quite. You don’t allow yourself to think much about them. Beyond, deeper inside the layers of poise and compose, you’re actually scared; deep, deep within. You unfriend passion like it’s enemy.

Until someday someone digs you up from the ruins; like some faceless client from the adjacent psychologist’s chamber, who this Another Woman could overhear and for once let in, did for her.

Trust me, they can come from anywhere. Often, from within you. They better do!

Look for cracks in yourself. Cherish them!

Don't be that Another Woman; be yourself!