'Eternal Sunshine' and 'Leila'

Tonight S. and I went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Despite all the formal fireworks, it was really just a sappy romance (might make a good date movie). The first 20 minutes are the most chaotic. People looking for Being John Malkovich absurdism will be disappointed. But maybe one grows out of absurdism? Kaufmann hits true emotional notes: the film points at what it feels like to have someone hard-wired into your everyday life -- almost unconsciously.

And Leila was terrific. Despite my oft-pronounced fetish for arty Iranian movies, I somehow missed it when it was playing in art-house theaters a few years ago. The film is about the emotional damage created by polygamy when people in a marriage actually care for each other. In one sense the film is making a political point, and it should appeal to western feminists. But I felt that heart of the film was really an attempt to reveal a kind of emotional truth about the difficulty of communicating through grief.

Interestingly, in "Eternal Sunshine," love lingers on in the form of a trace (or an instinct) even after you've mechanically erased it. In "Leila," love manages to die despite the strong desire for it to somehow survive...

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