rewatched Scorsese's Taxi Driver on DVD yesterday. The last time I saw it was
more than 10 years ago when I was still in film school. Perhaps a bit naive at
that time, the film didn't really leave a very strong impression on me. But
seeing it again after all these years, the experience was quite different.
One of the
themes of Taxi Driver is loneliness. It is this loneliness that drives Travis
(Robert DeNiro) to break out of the boundary of his life. Seeing how
deteriorates a life is absolutely
about loneliness, one interesting finding I just realized is that, a few of my
favorite films from recent years are all about loneliness. Say, Wong Kar-Wai's
In the Mood For Love,
a mesmerizing tale
of two lonely soul; Jun Ichikawa's Toni Takitani, a film that perfectly
visualizes a lonely heart, and who can forget the crawling ants (and certainly
the big one in the train) in Park Chan-wook's Oldboy?
In all of
these films, loneliness is a catalyst of pain and suffering. It is a state of
mind that brings no pleasure at all. Travis's famous line "Are you talking
to me" clearly signifies his desire to connect with the others. The same
also happens in Oldboy and In the Mood For Love, in which both of the male and
female protagonists are in the search for acceptance and bond with each other,
while Toni Takitani in the namesake film is a prime example of failure to
just feel myself a perfect candidate to re-enact the life of the some of the above
movie characters. The feeling of loneliness seems to be stretching infinitely
inside my mind at times.
Sitting in my
room alone at night, silence begins to slowly occupy every corner of the space,
until it totally fills the entire room.
When I sit still, I can even feel the sound of dust clashing in the air, and
then just like Oh Dal-su in Oldboy, the ants on the desk slowly climb up my
fingers, one by one, until it fills my entire body.
But it is
probably not the most horrible experience. The biggest fear comes when I am crowded
by my friends in a party or event and the feeling of alienation suddenly
emerges. Note that these people are not strangers, they are all supposed to be my
good buddies who understand me the best. But somehow at certain moments, the
fearsome thought of loneliness would unexpectedly pop up, and then it would totally
drag me away from where I am located and lead my mind to nowhere. The most
frightening part is that you never know when it would appear.
and the world laugh with you; weep, and you weep alone."
This is quite true indeed. It is always easier
to find someone to share your happiness than your pain and fear. So the easiest
way to alleviate such pain is probably to write it down (from what I read,
that's how Paul Schrader wrote the script of Taxi Driver, it was partly
autobiographic in some senses), and so one day, I am sure loneliness is going
to be one of my film's subject...