Lost in Serenity

 
Thanks to Autisticook for sharing the above video track from the movie O’Horten (2007) in response to my review of my favourite movie, Moon 2009. I haven’t seen O’Horten* (in fact I had never heard of it), but I already love it based on the video and her description:

It’s silly and touching and it has some of the same themes about hope and social transformation and things not making sense but in a way they do. And the music just beautifully enhancing all of that.

Austisticook in comment on Memories (someone we’ll never know)

The comparison / similarity to Moon (2009) seems relevant too. Just like I find the musical-visual-philosophical sequences of Moon existentially meaningful and highly addictive, I find the above short video sequence deeply touching too. It hooked me immediately, and have to restrain myself from keep hitting Play to keep experiencing it.

Musically and visually, it taps straight into the pleasure circuits of my brain; and the existential undertones talk directly into my heart; about the tragic beauty of being a live creature, and how it has a deep meaning that can not be captured in words. How the act of staying alive for a while and connecting with the surroundings in any way is a mighty achievement, and a struggle worthy of great patience and compassion.

 

Movie poster for "O'horten": man lifts big old dog, in front of red train wall
Image from Cinema Enthusiast

 
Something about it remind me of my dad too. He doesn’t look like the man in the video at all, and he doesn’t drive a train. He is a retired ship Navigator, and has been sailing container ships most of his life. But it remind me of aspects of his personality and the work life he chose to live:

The serenity. The dependency on routine and predictability; the love of repetition, of familiar rhythm (a train is a perfect symbol of rhythm and predictability). The technology operation role as a work role and a way to belong in a logical, structured, rule-based branch of the world.

The pragmatic attitude to life: like the world is an insanely strange place, but there is nowhere else to be, so act the best you can. Find a corner of it that can be controlled. The unspoken acknowledgement that a human is just a tiny creature on a big planet, that we’re just a brief moment in the passage of time; dinosaurs and all. But that, luckily, we are free to enjoy our moments as long as they last.

 
(The rest are footnotes)

 

Disclaimer: I’m obviously projecting a lot, and I don’t know if what I get out of it is in line with the message conveyed by the movie O’Horten itself, since I haven’t seen the full movie.

* Apparently it is not available here in Australia and all the “view full movie” links have disappointed so far

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6 thoughts on “Lost in Serenity

  1. autisticook

    Oh wow! 😀
    You are getting this without having seen it. That’s just stunning. How do you do that? (Also, the complete befuddlement of Horten when he suddenly can’t follow his daily routine anymore. No wonder this film appealed to me). And I’m so happy that not only did you like my recommendation, but you’ve written an entire post about it!

    I’ve seen some DVDs for the Australian market (region 4) on Ebay but that only works if you have money to spare on frivolous things. I’m not going to assume that you can! So I hope you can find a full version somewhere, it really is a beautiful film.

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    1. Mados

      Thank you! I guess the video captures the essence of the movie well then? and I looked it up on Wikipedia too.

      Thanks for the tip… it was available here from Australia on Ebay, so I actually did order it and am looking forward to see the whole movie.

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  2. A Quiet Week

    Well, now! I am so excited to have some new movies to chase down! This looks very beautiful! My favorite director is Jan Svankmajer. His movies are so odd and open to interpretation. If you get a chance to see “Alice” by him, I highly recommend it. The movie was oddly reflective of my own childhood fantasies and dreams.

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    1. Mados

      I found this video clip/trailer of “Alice” on YouTube… I’m glad I’m an adult, this would totally have freaked me out when I was a kid. I already had nightmarish visions of skeletons behind the furniture and open doors; these images would certainly have fuelled my fantasy:-) I have never liked “Alice in Wonderland” with the cutesy cartoon figures, but I like this one… it is very raw and real and remind me of my cousin… and you now when you say that it is reflective of your childhood & dreams.

      Thanks for dropping by:-) Great to hear from you.

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