Monday, 17 March 2014

Five Tear-Fests

Over at Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh, they have a list of five movies guaranteed to set loose that self-pity that’s straining at the leash and bring self-indulgent tears to your eyes. Didn’t agree with one of them. But I know what they mean.

At number one is this song from Rent. Wrecks me every time.

Then there’s a film I cannot watch again. Ever. You want the bit between 1:00 and 4:00, where Alan Rickman comes back from the dead to comfort a grieving Juliet Stevenson. You really need the set-up first, in parts 1 and 2 of this to get into the state of mind.

I have no idea where Stevenson got those tears from, unless within herself, from the memory of some irreplaceable loss of the kind that one can only learn to stop awakening, because it is never going to go away.

There’s the end of Blue is the Warmest Colour.


How many times have I left a social occasion where I felt totally unconnected with everyone, especially since there was a someone I wanted to be connected to? How empty and hollow it feels to be talking to the people there? The moment of decision to leave, the slight hesitation as I pass through the door, and then the turn into the empty side street, the cigarette, the firm pace taking me away. As she approached the turn, I was thinking “Don’t walk down that street, don’t do it” and when she did, I teared up in the darkness of the Renoir. I had to rush back into the West End and eat ice cream and cake and coffee. The rest of my day was a mess.

There’s the end of Mahler’s Second. You do need to sit through the whole thing, which meanders and wanders and seems directionless for a long time, until the last ten minutes, when it starts to build, and in the final two minutes, he reaches into your chest and crushes your heart. (Don’t skip to then end, or it won’t work)

I first heard this at a Prom, up in the Gallery, and when the organ and the bells come in, I just thought “Good God above, how is music like this even possible?”. Not quite as articulate as that at the time, because the hairs were standing on the back of my neck and there was a bloody great lump in my throat.

Which brings me to the last one

Yep. Mastersingers. I saw this at the ENO and teared up in two places. First when that overture (the single best piece of music ever composed for orchestra) ends, the curtain rises and the choir starts. And then, of course, at the end, when the Boy gets the Girl, having overcome all the small-town silliness in-between. I swear people all around me were wiping their eyes.

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