"The big chill", one of my favourite films, was broadcast last night on television. My family dismissed the film, saying that it consisted solely of a bunch of people sitting around a house and talking. I pointed out that occasionally they leave the house, in order to attend a funeral, to play football, to go shopping and to throw out the trash, but the family were unimpressed. As it happens, I hear the same criticism about Woody Allen's films, "a bunch of people sitting around and talking". Nothing ever happens.
So what? Surely these films are more like our lives than "Kill Bill", for example, or any adventure film. Obviously our lives don't make very compulsive viewing.
It's fairly obvious why I feel so emotionally attached to TBC: I could be one of those people. I spent my university years living in a communal house, as did the seven stars of TBC, and felt very close to most of the people there. I was a member (and later, leader) of a group that we established in order to emigrate to Israel, and at the time, this group (and its purpose) was one of the most important things in my life.
As far as I know, no member of that group has committed suicide nor died, but then I wouldn't really know as I am not in contact with any of the members any more. Most upped and left Israel after a year or two, and without that connecting thread, our lives had nothing in common any more.
I didn't feel betrayed by these people's return to Britain, but I did feel sad that several beautiful friendships were now over. Had those people been deceiving themselves all the years in thinking that their future home was in a kibbutz? I am sure that everyone had suitable reasons for leaving.
Anyway, TBC reminds me of what might have been: a group of friends, 15 years on from the crux of their friendship, trying to come to terms with why one of them committed suicide. "I would have helped had I known", says someone towards the end (I may not have the exact wording), but another character casts doubt on that statement, and I tend to agree. What could we have done? We might have known each other reasonably well (or so we thought) a long time ago, but people change over the years.
After complaining loudly, my wife agreed to watch TBC from the beginning, and so maybe understand the film, instead of watching bits taken out of context.