Thursday, 27 March 2008

Related? (thoughts and people)

I haven't written for a while, it was end of term and I had real life things to occupy me. And then it has been 2 weeks of holiday and I had nothing to occupy me and so nothing to talk about. But I want to keep writing this so I'm going to try to scratch together some bits and pieces and coherently fit them together.

So yesterday I went to see El Orfanato (The Orphanage) with my sister. Lots of Guillermo del Toro's usual themes coming through - loss, childhood, imagination. I really liked the brief Peter Pan reference, look out for it; it was that which prompted my brief weep at the end of the film...! Peter Pan (like El Orfanato) has so many underlying ideas about growing up that I find so sad and poignant - I guess the main one being that we lose things when we become adults and yet gain as well. The recent film of Peter Pan (2003) brings this out in particular.

Wendy asks Peter what he thinks of love. He says he has never heard of it...
Wendy: I think you have, Peter. And I daresay you've felt it yourself. For something... or... someone?
Peter: Never. Even the sound of it offends me.
[Wendy tries to touch his face, and he jumps away]
Peter: Why do you have to spoil everything? We have fun, don't we? I taught you to fly and to fight. What more could there be?
Wendy: There is so much more.
Peter: What? What else is there?
Wendy: I don't know. I guess it becomes clearer when you grow up.
Peter: Well, I will not grow up. You cannot make me!

The fact that Peter does not grow up is both desperately sad but also what so many of us wish for, it is both liberating for him but also traps him. I think this came out in The Orphanage with the ghostly children that were trapped as children forever and yet freed from the responsibility and emotional cost of growing up. I guess I relate these ideas to myself too because I feel trapped as an adult by my emotions and that feeling of having a messy, fragmented life that I don't remember having as a child. I guess part of the problem is now I think too much and I'd probably feel less like I'm making a mess of things if I didn't think about it.

El Orfanato also had resonance for me as a film about adoption. I've been reading about kinship and relatedness for my most recent essay, "What makes people related?" and have been thinking on it a lot too because my mother was adopted. I don't think I've come to any conclusions in my thoughts yet, but it has been interesting to read about. So far I've been struck by the Western ideas that who you are related too is fixed at birth, while in many non-Western societies relatedness and kinship is fluid, formed and created by interaction. Adoption seems to be between this, as a child cannot choose who they are adopted by, and their relationships mirror biological ones, however the idea of who their kin may be is formed by who has invested time in their upbringing.

Anyway, that is a vague conclusion of my current thoughts.

Currently listening to:
I Want You to Want Me - Cheap Trick
You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins
I Will Follow You into The Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
Another Breakfast with You - Ladytron
The Atonement Soundtrack

No comments: