Saturday, 7 July 2018

Watching movies on transatlantic flights, or: don't cry in public

As I'm typing this, I am sitting in my Cupertino hotel room, in the very heart of Silicon Valley. On Monday this week I travelled to Canada, for an on-site job interview there. After the Tuesday interview, I travelled to San Jose on Wednesday, where for the past two days I had additional job interviews. In a short while I'll be taking a taxi to SFO to travel back to Europe.

On the flight back I expect to be watching in-flight movies again, just like I did on Monday. During that flight I immediately dove into the Chinese and Japanese movies sections. Though fairly limited in the offerings, I ended up watching one Chinese movie (of which I do not remember the title any more), and two Japanese movies.

Of the latter two movies, 'The last shot in the bar' (Tantai ha bar ni naru 3) [1][2] was a really fun yet still serious Japanese detective movie combining both slapstick elements and intense emotional scenes. By the end of the movie I found myself definitely engaged and interested in how things would work out. The twists the movie threw at me were not obvious and improved the story immensely. I have to watch the first two parts now, for sure.

The second Japanese movie was ゆらり ('yurari', English title: Last Night Rewind) [3][4]. This is a movie that was adapted from a theater play, and one can definitely notice this in how the scenes are put together. This is absolutely not a negative, however, as it allows one to focus on the characters. The movie description made me expect a different kind of movie than what I ended up watching.

Basically, this movie is far better than what I had expected, with the struggles of a number of characters from a couple of families followed as they try to work things out. The first resolutions are emotionally intense, but they are just the beginning. This was the movie were during the final scenes and afterwards I had to fight to not burst out in tears.

Watching an emotional drama in public is slightly awkward at the best of times. In a cinema everyone is at least watching the same movie, so everybody is likely to respond the same way. In a public space where it's just you watching the movie, awkwardness increases exponentially.

Not having to hold back may make a movie even better. Just letting those tears flow freely while experiencing the crushing emotional depths of the story, instead of having to keep them in check. I think this is a good reason to rewatch those movies at some point in a more private setting.

I'm curious to see whether there's a new selection available on the in-flight entertainment system as I fly back in a few hours. And then of course to see how my own story will continue, as I receive the feedback of this week's job interviews.



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