Sep 24, 2007

Notes on My Own Private Idaho

Watched ‘my own private idaho’ today. Like other films like fight club, trainspotting, mulhollands drive, apocalypse now, this film too has a cult following & I’d wanted to watch it since ages. My decision to order it frm netflix was clinched the moment I saw its name on the criterion collection list.
Mopi is dark, disturbing, funny, poignant, evocative and achingly tender. Two things make this movie stand out – the fact that it succeeds in creating a mood of dreamlike utter helplessness; evokes tenderness without spiraling towards any overt sentimentality. Second, is the brilliant depiction of the theme of loneliness that resonates throughout the film without the slightest effort. And therein lies its universal appeal methinks. there r parts of it all of us will identify with despite the absol bizarre & alien way of life & chars depicted here. Btw, did I say 2 things? Was wrong. Add river phoenix whose mike is the protagonist of the film and who’s brazenly loose, clumsy, crazy behavior seems neither odd nor forced as he essays the role of a young gay male hustler, suffering frm narcolepsy that leaves him often at the mercy of absol strangers, who is always very, very hungry for love. In mike’s world nothing is permanent, so nothing is real. He is searching for his mother yet we don’t know whether his memories of her are real or imaginary. Narcolepsy makes him fall asleep at some of the most interesting & imp moments of his life but it doesn’t seem to bother him. After all, for mike, the only thing that matters is finding a home at the end of the road to Idaho where we see him at the beginning & end of the film. Hell, he isn’t even bothered when his best friend scott (Keanu reeves), whom he also happens to b in love with, abandons him in the middle of italy & takes off with a girl & later completely turns his back on him.
So accustomed is mike to the idea of being abandoned, never finding reciprocation, that one senses a strange spirituality abt him. In the true manner of the Buddha, mike actually expects nothing & is thus never disappointed. There is no anger, no resentment, only the gentle appeal of a meandering soul who is journeying forever on a long road and looks for a home, a place to stop. Whether he will ever find this is anybody’s guess. Though we see him being helped & carried away by a stranger in his car away frm the road to Idaho at the end of the film, we don’t know that he wont return to the same spot again. That’s what he’s been doing & like he says, “I'm a connoisseur of roads. I've been tasting roads my whole life. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world.”
The strange thing is, mopi is strangely therapeutic. After the events of the past few days & esp in the light of what I’ve been feeling, it worked like a balm. Its ok to feel lonely, be lonely, it’s a universal condition, no escaping frm it. And like mike, I still don’t know whats at the end of the road. It needn’t lead to anger. Theres probably a comic side to everything that we take so seriously in life and get wrked up abt.

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