Monday, February 13, 2012

Are You in the Mood for Love?

Or are you forever alone?

Personally I find Valentine's Day completely useless, cynical and pathetic. It's not a 'single' thing (I am single). It feels forced and unnecessary. And let's face it, there's nothing more alarming than scheduled romance. If we describe love as a spark, an instant connection, an effortless understanding, or mutual respect (etc, etc), then the idea of a recurring 'day of love' is oxymoronic.

Despite all my misgivings about the day, it is a brilliant chance for a blogger like myself to exploit the situation and draw some much needed traffic to his site. Being a member of this massive capitalist machine that is the First World, I will grab this opportunity by its horns. Herewith is a list of 10 films with a common theme: love. Some will reaffirm your belief in eternal love, some will make you grateful for your single status. Some end happy, some end in tears. Some are traditional Valentine's Day fare, some are admittedly odd choices.

But if you're in need of a film to watch with your loved one in a cozy night in this week, you could give these a chance. Let love endure and all that crap.

in alphabetical order

The Apartment (1960)
Where's the love? Jack Lemmon's C.C. Baxter pimps his apartment to his superiors so they can bring their mistresses and girlfriends. When Baxter finds out that one of those girls is the elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine's Fran Kubelik) that he fancies, he begins to re-evaluate his professional ambitions.

Before Sunrise (1995) / Before Sunset (2004)
Where's the love? The American tourist Jesse (Ethan Hawke) convinces Celine (Julie Delpy), the French girl he meets on the train in Austria, to spend a night with him in Vienna before he flies back home. Love blossoms, but do they have a future? 9 years on from that night in Vienna, did they have a future?

Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Where's the love? Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) is a young poet and doctor, married to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin). During First World War he serves as a medical officer near the Western front, where he falls in love with a nurse, Lara (Julie Christie). He returns home after the Revolution breaks out, but he can't shake off his feelings for Lara.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Where's the love? Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) undergo a revolutionary treatment which allows them to forget about their rocky relationship. But as the treatment takes effect, their love for each other proves too strong to just throw it away.

The Girl with the Red Scarf (1978)
Where's the love? Ilyas (Kadir İnanır) walks out on his wife (Tũrkan Şoray as Asya) and child after struggling with alcoholism, needless jealousy and economic strife. Asya finds solace in the arms of Cemsit (Ahmet Mekin), who her child embraces as the father figure. Before long Asya also falls for Cemsit ... until Ilyas returns to claim his family back.

The Graduate (1967)
Where's the love? Straight out of college, Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) dives deep into a lethargic state of indifference after starting an affair with his parents' friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). When Mrs. Robinson's beautiful daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) comes home, Benjamin gets a chance to steer his life back to normalcy and a shot for real romance.

In the Mood for Love (2001)
Where's the love? Su Li-zhen (Maggie Chung) and Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) are neighbours in a cramped Hong Kong apartment building. Their respective spouses are always away on business trips and their marriages exist in name only. Love blossoms between the two, but honour and loyalty prove difficult to overcome.

Leon (1994)
Where's the love? Mathilda's (Nathalie Portman) parents are killed by corrupt DEA agents and she finds shelter with the loner neighbour, Leon (Jean Reno) - a hired killer. Mathilda convinces Leon to teach her how to kill so she can avenge her little brother. Soon a pseudo-romantic relationship blossoms between the teenager and the older man.

Once (2006)
Where's the love? Guy (Glen Hansard) busks in the streets of Dublin when he's not helping his dad fix vacuum cleaners. Girl (Marketa Irklova) is an Eastern European immigrant saving up money to bring her family over. Their romance is born from their mutual love of music, but their respective baggages are too heavy.

Sex & Lucía (2001)
Where's the love? Lucía (Paz Vega) and Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa) were a couple truly, madly and deeply in love until Lorenzo's death. Unable to deal with her loss, Lucía retreats to the island where Lorenzo spent his life prior to their relationship. There, she uncovers secrets which will put her love in a different perspective.

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