Two single friends of mine complained about being single and proceeded to tell me how they were going to spend 14/2. One was going to watch all the rom-coms she could find, and the other to completely avoid rom-coms
Valentine’s Day is always met with such vitriol in modern context. It’s hell on earth for singles everywhere who feel the salt rubbed into their wounds, and it’s also hell on earth for couples who think that they have to keep up with a certain sort of standard for their declarations of love.
Opponents of this holiday say that you should celebrate love everyday instead of just one day that’s commercialised. But the question is, so what if it’s commercialised? So what if it’s a day where it means nothing (yet everything)? You celebrate your own brand of love, and let me celebrate my own.
Our assumptions of people who are in or not in love perhaps is made worse by fairytales that, while are fluffy and fuzzy and make you go weak in the knees, can and will never be reality at all. Because it’s a plot device. Cinema relies on the engines of romantic love to keep a story going - even in an action film. And most of the time, love movies are mostly so reductive and simplified such that it’s a happy ending if two lovers stay together, and a sad ending if two lovers drift or break apart. And the often most frustrating part is how cinema tries to push that a successful, worthy relationship is one that causes happiness in two people. But in actuality, it’s could be the unfulfilled, unrequited and unattainable loves that are so damn enriching after all.
So here’s a celebration of cinema’s unrequited love, a love that’s 有缘无分, a love that couldn’t be had; but still a story so fucking brilliant and blinding in it’s own way, that it’s really better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all.
- 蓝宇 / Lan Yu (full movie w/ mandarin subs)
- 霸王别姬 / Farewell My Concubine (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 有一天 / One Day (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 盛夏光年 / Eternal Summer (full movie w/ mandarin subs)
- 海角七号 / Cape No. 7 (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 東邪西毒 / Ashes of Time (full movie w/ mandarin subs)
- 春光乍泄 / Happy Together (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 花样年华 / In the Mood for Love
- 西遊记大结局之仙履奇缘 / A Chinese Odyssey Part II: Cinderella (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 싸이보그지만 괜찮아 / I’m a Cyborg but That’s Okay
- 빈 집 / Three-Iron (full movie w/ eng subs)
- 김씨표류기 / Castaway on the Moon
- 空気人形 / Air Doll
- スカイ·クロラ / The Sky Crawlers
- ほしのこえ / Voices of a Distant Star
- 秒速5センチメートル / 5 Centimetres Per Second
- Atonement (spoiler alert)
- The Fountain
Love in real life is not a simple plot device that can be wrapped up in a simple ending in two hours. My thoughts are a mess and I could go on and on how maybe being apart doesn’t mean unhappiness or how an eternity of love could be heart-wrenching, but you should watch to understand instead. Happy Valentine’s Day.