Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Amélie and Philosophy, 2

Romantic love, the value Amélie has never experienced but desperately longs for, is for her (and for all of us) one that is not as easily achieved as the simple pleasures that she and many of the other characters pursue. It is this that is within her grasp, and yet at that moment seems for Amélie so very far away.

"Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love—with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality.

"One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his widest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul—the individual style of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness.

"It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony."
The above is not a direct quote from the movie, Amélie. It was in fact written by Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged. But notice how the relationship between Amélie and Nino is an almost perfect concretization of the above.

The two of them did not share the same history, nor do they share identical values, but what they do have in common is the same sense of life--a basic view that, as the two of them see it, life is filled with wonderful things and living consists of collecting and enjoying them.

That is what makes them a very believable couple, a compatible one, and a couple that most viewers will want to see together.

There is no way Amélie can know this at once of course. All she sees is a guy collecting photos that others have discarded--and feels "an affinity" with him.

But as time goes on, and she discovers the purpose behind his actions--along with his other projects (which include collecting pictures of footprints in wet cement and recording funny laughs)--her feelings for him respond accordingly, becoming love.

And yet Amélie does not approach him directly. The question is why? What could possibly hold an unhappy person back from the thing that would make them happy? (Read on.)

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