7 days to go: Arrival (April, 1)

"Despite knowing the journey... and where it leads... I embrace it... 
and I welcome every moment of it."

This quote from Arrival could be a summary for life. The movie embodies this with such mastery... and because of that, I die a thousand deaths, my heart is broken in zillion pieces every time I approach the stunning masterpiece by Villeneuve.

I've saw it four times now, and everytime a feel like it is like the first. Everything here puts me right inside the story, as if I've never had been with it before, specially by sound, silence and Amy Adam's hard breathing. It is like I'm sucked just inside that world, and all the things around me ceases to exist. I'm entirely there, always captivated by how accurate this movie is. 

I don't know your beliefs about the origins of life or the afterlife or reincarnation or such things. I just think that is very difficult to imagine that we just popped up in this world from nothing and to that nothing we'll return. In void I believe... but the pure nothing... no way. I have very strong beliefs about it, a faith surrounded by other doubts and uncertainty. Sometimes, in the middle of night, I stay there, on my bed, trying to figure out what I'd be after I die. This is futile, I know... I believe that I'll be my true self, and that everything will be sorted out in a way or another. However, I think that my spiritual faith doesn't allow me to be so certain about things as religions seems (or pretend) to be. 

Anyway, at some point, we decide to be here again, in this or another freaking crazy world, with lives that will bring joy, pain, loss... infinite loss. And we say: OK, let's do it. I'll take it again and again and again. I'll embrace it with all my love and strength and doubts. I'll welcome every moment of it, for long as it takes.  Whatever time  means, by the way.

That's the essence of life, our take on it in whatever circumstances.  

I can present a less transcendental thinking and it will be the same. Take the material life: we are born, we grow up, we love, we lose, our heart is broken over and over again and still we don't give up. OK, there's depression, discouragement... sometimes we feel like asking the operator to stop, please. However, after losing a love, we mostly certainly will open our hearts to love again. After knowing all it is involved in a determined journey, we go through it over and over. We know the trip can be a bit harsh, but we embrace it. 

So that's life, and Arrival talks about it beautifully.

The atmosphere here is surreal. Despite the song that puts us right in the story and leads us in its conclusion, The Nature of Daylight (one of my favorites in life - a melody that, as imdb tells me, is palindromic!), is from Max Richter, the OST by Jóhann Jóhannsson has an important part in creating it, with the big takes and claustrophobic close ups. Of course Jóhannsson is Icelandic (as many of wonderful musicians I'm listening to:) I'm listening to the score right now, being transported once more to the vastness of Arrival. The world is so immense, but it looks small in front of what looks like an out of space menace. We are throw from heartbreaking loss to big spaces to a unimaginable confront at the zero gravity of the unknown. And all the time, the amazing performance by Amy Adams is taking us by the hand, with sadness, quiet understanding, tons of courage, hard breathing, fear, the impossible awareness of a giant loss and, above of all, love (which defines us, forget not). 

Finally, has the thing about time - a tiny little thing, just to be funny. Mankind has an overwhelming need to establish its notions as the whole universal truth. We should know better by now. Both in a micro or macro way, we should know that our views are not the sole truth - if that is even a possibility. As individuals creatures and as a species, we should know that we have ways of thinking that are accompanied by infinite others, unknown for us. The idea of time is a basis for our way of thinking - but even in this earth, there are many others that the many civilizations, specially Occidental, insist in ignoring. Too bad. In this matter, I stay with the heptapods.

The link between the characters, the love link, is not forced. It is the glue of everything, and there's no need to force this understanding, as happened, for example, in The Light Between Oceans.  Not every one knows how to present such a strong connection, but we can count with Villeneuve, for sure.The way people is linked here is what makes more sense and builds all the heartbreaking features of this story. .

I don't breath easily during this film. As I've said before, I'm transported to its inside, and there I stay. until the final credits and even after that. I'll be back for sure, because its lesson is one to be revisited constantly.  We must remember at every millisecond of our linear accounting of time that we are not a linearity, and that this life we live?, we chose it. So, people, let's embrace the mess, loving and being loved, Always.

Arrival. Directed by Dennis Villeneuve. Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner,
Forest Whitaker. Writers: Eric Heissener, based on "The story of you life", novella
by Ted Chiang. USA, 2016, Dolby Digital, Color, 116 min.

PS: Folks, come on! A translator/Linguist as a hero in a Sci-fi movie? Even if it was a lousy film, it would still be great. Go translators in the world! And I have to say that I understood the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis better by this film than in my Linguistics 101 (despite the good teachers, I must say). It is just that I really understand the things better when in a ficcional narrative :)

PPS: I've watched Arrival for the fourth time surrounded by dear friends: Flavia, always present on this dare, her boyfriend and his amazing daughter. Flavia was the only one that had not seen it. At the end, her very smart boyfriend , H (I envy his eidetic memory, something that I should have required from the Operator :), told me something that intrigued me. But of course I had to google it, because I've already forgoten the name of the visionary guy that is trying Sci-fi movie things for real - I know there's a lot of people doing it. How I'd wish I was so smart.  The name is Elon Musk, the guy who is trying to "computarize your brain", according to some articles (I wouldn't never try this, though... Man, we should learn from Asimov). The question H pointed out was how a guy who had everything and reinvented himself many times was envisioning such a thing. Maybe the hectapods had a hold on him, I was musing out. Just wondering :)


  1. Oh boy. This movie is a just a fantastic ride. I agree with you, it's a universe we get sucked right into, and it feels amazing. Unlike you, though, I don't stay in bed thinking about where we come from and where we go to, because this stuff scares me far too much. hehe

    but yes, that motto applies quite well. we subject ourselves to the journey once and again, although knowing it'll not be easy (or even wanting to ask the operator to stop haha).
    But yea, I love your view on this film, it's a great impression and understanding of its message. really good reflection on it, especially it being such an intricate subject matter. But that's what makes Denis Villeneuve such a master at what he does, and certainly one of my favorite directors - of this generation and any other.

    This is one of those movies to have at home and revisit every now and then, it's a master piece, I love everything about it, it's my favorite performance by Amy Adams, the production design and sound design are exquisite, the whole product is just ingenious. I need to see it again soon, and I'll pay more attention to the music after your observation on the Icelandic composer.
    Thanks for sharing your opinion on such an instant classic of cinema.
    Now I need to find myself in the right mind frame to finally watch Incendies. Have been waiting for the perfect time to do it for about 3 or 4 years now.

    [ j ]

    1. Talking about Amy Adams, have you seen Junebug? It was the first time I saw her, and I was amazed. She is a greatfull surprise and strong presence.

      I love this soundtrack... It has been with me in my most introspective moments, and it has giving me great insights. Just writting about it, and the sounds came to my mind.

      I must say that after reading your comments I wanted to watch the movie again badly :) Everything in in really reaches me in a very powerfull way.

    2. No, I haven't! I'll look into it, thanks ;)

      [ j ]