Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let the right one in

Sorry dB. Hopefully you'll have more luck tomorrow!

I wrote about 4 pages today and felt like a treat tonight.

(WARNING: Film spoilers of the movie do follow.)

Let the Right One In is the Swedish film about being a child and lonely centering around a twelve year old boy and vampire girl-boy. It's a film I've seen before but really enjoyed the first time--I'm a sucker for those vamp flicks.

Yes, the film is elegantly shot and set in the harsh and barren landscape of a wintery sub-arctic town. (Actually, what I noticed on this second viewing is that the film is wonderfully tactile. The crunching of the powdery snow, whispery sound of smoothing skin over skin, the fogging of glass and the dinge of an appartment that one imagine smells of decomp are fantastically captured.)

But what I find so affecting about it is how quick the main character Oskar is to accept and have have affection for his new friend. Even if Eli might not be a she or even alive. Sure he's bullied constantly and she encourages him to fight back but there seems to be a larger understanding that the world is not made for awkward 12 year olds. Neither of his divorced parents really seem to want Oskar and he's ostracized at school with indifferent teachers and sadistic classmates. For her part, Eli's middle age companion has to play her father, a useful cover for someone with greatly restricted hours and a face too young to rent an apartment. Yet bent over and defeated looking, he seems to have lost the ability to interact with anyone else either from lack of practice or because of his need to kill to procure blood for her. In either case, there is no glory or glamourization here. Killing is not portrayed as easy (he does it clumsily, only with great effort and is eventually caught). Also I image that Oskar will eventually age into this sad figure.

But for the time being, Oskar can be playful, sharing a rubix cube and passing messages through a wall with morse code. And the fact that this powerful vampire is very kind to him, often to her own detriment (for instance Eli eats a snack that he buys for her to prevent hurting his feelings even though she has to painfully throw it up later), I think points to her own loneliness.

But it may be a pragmatic move. Eli cannot force him to become her new caretaker, just as she can't force her way into a home without being asked. So while killing Oskar may be an easy task for her, making him leave his home and willingly become her sole companion is another matter--perhaps requiring love.

In the end they cling to each other in a way that is desperate and at expense of the rest of the world. Does that speak to being isolated and inexperienced or something fundamental about human loneliness? I don't know but I still find it touching.

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