Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wanting... something

I finally borrowed the movie Saving Face over the weekend. Everyone who has seen it enjoyed it. Finding and watching films that successfully weave American and Asian culture is a rare thing (though happily, hopefully happening more often with the growing number of Asian filmmakers).

At the start of the movie, I could not have predicted how much emotion it would stir inside me. The very first awkward piece of the movie with the person who played Vivian. She reminded me of Ryan's wife, Vi. I've only ever seen her in photos, like from their wedding. I wouldn't say Vi's as pretty (I really don't know), but there something in the eyes that made it feel like I was looking at her throughout the movie. It was disturbing, as if I was cruelly being taunted. I hate being reminded of Ryan, what I helped him accomplish, and how I ended up with nothing.

Tim and my brother watched the movie with me. In hindsight, I don't know that watching a movie about a lesbian Asian couple with two guys is the best company. It was interesting, though, to ask them who they considered cuter - Wil or Vivian. The guys agreed that it was difficult to choose. When I proposed Vivian as the hotter choice, my brother observed that she has a sexier look but that Wil's looks offered a different attractiveness that was just as appealing. I thought it reassuring and hopeful that guys see more than just the sultry, sexy looks. (And Joan Chen looks incredible as always.)

Alice Wu did a wonderful job capturing the little details and attitudes of Asian-American culture. While I identify with everything I saw, the true skill of writers is being able to identify these seemingly minor actions and demonstrate how they shape who we are. There's an "oh yeah" in my head every movie. My communications skills need some development.

The movie also highlighted the intimacy I miss in my life. Wil's discomfort and inability to fully engage feels a little like me. Her reasons are different than mine, but result is the same. I fail to take risks or ask questions and then don't develop better relationships with friends. My heart ached at the sight of the two of them happily laying on the floor, Vivian patting Wil's stomach. I want to be in that place again where I get to hole up with a man I love and talk about simple things. I don't know that I have it in me anymore. Thank goodness the guys ignore me when I cried during the movie. Why can't I enjoy a movie without thinking about myself?

Tim made silly ooos and woos during the topless scene. He had jokingly asked earlier whether there'd be any nude, cute women in the movie. He got what he wanted. Is it odd to watch a lesbian love scene with two guys, especially you're little brother? ;)

The other aspect of the movie that was touching was the mother/daughter relationship. It began as the typical, difficult relationship balancing traditional Chinese expectations with the society in which we second-generation live. I appreciated the breakthrough moment when Wil realizes that she must adjust her approach to preparing her mother for a date. In the end, some truths emerge and they build some understanding of each other.

My own relationship with my mom is strained. We're still in this struggle to become something more than the mom who tells me what to do, seeks me out to voice her complaints and concerns, and thinks that she knows better how I my life should be. I am the impatient and ambivalent oldest child who dreads spending more than a couple days with mom because there is no way to please her. I wish there was a way we could help each other respect the lives we lead and be supportive. My family does not have an innate talent for interpersonal communication. If a class ever appears on how to characterize people and the best way to interact with them, I'll be one of the first to sign up. How much better would my life be if I felt like I had better harmony in my family?

Mostly, I just wanted to talk about how much my heart got tugged around by this movie. Maybe it's just me, I get emotional easily when it comes to movies.


zerodoll said...

just one comment on a minor(?) comment you made: please try not to think that you got nothing from a failed relationship; think about all that you learned for the next one you're in, the things you'd keep the same, the things you wouldn't put up with, the things you'd do differently.

Pandax said...

I've definitely processed all those things you mentioned. The issue is that I thought I learned many of those lessons with a previous relationship, and I'm mad at myself for partially repeating those same mistakes. When it comes to getting "nothing" out of it, I'm mostly mad that I spent all the energy helping to "dress him up" (new car, new house) and Vi got to enjoy it all. I don't sound at all bitter, do I? ;P