26 January 2010

The Long Day Closes.

There's this story about inviting Kendrick to a movie, Van Helsing, and you show up to the movie theater approximately on time, and then right when the movie's about to start Kendrick's family shows up but Kendrick isn't with them. Where is he? Who knows. You don't see him until three days later and by then you've forgotten the episode, because it wasn't really a big deal, but then the memory pops up when other similar Kendrick stories are being shared. A lot of people have Kendrick stories like this. You tell your Van Helsing one, someone else tells a similar story, laughs are shared, and then later the two stories get told together again. And time passes and other more important things happen in your life, and you tell the Van Helsing story one day at a dinner party and someone stands up across the table and says, "Didn't that happen to me, not you?" and neither of you are really sure. You sort it out, and yes, it is your story, but did it happen in 2003 or 2004 (it was a summer, Van Helsing is a summer movie, it was definitely a warm evening...let's IMDb Van Helsing, okay 2004...), but did it happen in Beavercreek or Centerville (I remember the parking lot was expansive, but I can't remember what it expanded towards, and there were lights out front...)...

And what I've done here is approximated the experience of seeing The Long Day Closes, which will surely blend into my dreams and memories, and uses the magic of cinema to express the magic of life. The protagonist is a small boy, a stand-in for a young Davis, and it's always clear that the story is being told in the present, by Davis looking back. The story feels like it's being told while Davis lies on a couch with his eyes closed, with various records and movie samples being played to accompany the storytelling. It's not a story really, he's just opening up to you. His thoughts drift (the camera drifts). The moments are scattered, the people (characters) disappear and reappear, and the impressions are strong. He tells you that he remembers believing, because of a teacher probably, that when you shine a flashlight into the sky the light travels on forever. He remembers staring out the window at a bricklayer who smiled at him. The smile vaguely confused him, and below his mother yelled at him to bring down a sheet, which he dropped onto her head. Etc.

The Long Day Closes is part of a trilogy. I haven't seen the other two. I don't know how/when I'll get the chance to. I'd like to see how they connect together and learn if the characters develop, what themes are shared/explored, and what the narrative scope is meant to be. Isolated from its siblings, it's a beautiful film full of mystery and strong emotions.

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