Friday, February 08, 2008

My Blueberry Nights: the aesthetics of city blues and jazz

A film by Kar Wai Wong is always stylish. Is it also meaningful though?
After the gorgeous In Mood for love and 2046 he is coming back with My Blueberry nights. This time he distances himself from the aesthetics of his origin and manages to create a completely different atmosphere .My Blueberry nights is actually a stylistic tribute to jazz and blues. The story is about a girl who finds out that her boyfriend is cheating her. Since she can’t imagine her life without him she leaves New York to travel around America working as a waitress in various places in order to forget him. Before starting her trip she meets a guy that owns a coffee shop. She talks to him confessing in him and they become friend. The guy falls in love with her and waits her to return. In her trip she sends him postcards describing her adventures and the people she meets. In her trip she meets people who in a way are the embodiment of various feelings. Arnie is obsessed with a woman that doesn’t love him back. Sue is becoming the personage of guilt and remorse. Leslie is a trickster that doesn’t believe in sincerity. The protagonist manages to define herself by contrast to others. She chooses who she wants to be by comparing herself to the people she meets. In this way she chooses not to base her existence on someone that doesn’t love her back and not to loose faith in people. In this way she manages to resolve the issues that drove her to this adventure. She mends her heart. A year later she comes back ready to start a new relationship with the owner of the coffee shop that awaited her. The story is menial an excuse to develop the blues atmosphere. The dinner shop wit the painted glass, the often shots of the lighten train. The night aspects of the city and the noise of a busy city are emblems of a jazz aesthetic. , The characters of the film like the alcoholic policeman, the Vegas gamblers also contribute to the blues-jazz atmosphere.
The film is well shot and it has a distinctive atmosphere and images. This great advantage makes the film interesting and saves it from its somewhat banal story. It is a small cute film that you can easily watch. Some shots are so beautiful that manage to mark your memories. It lacks though all the grandeur of a good script. Not exactly without a point but also not exactly with a meaning either.

It is not a lucky coincidence that Kar Wai Wong chose Norah Jones as his leading lady. A jazz –blues singer and composer for a Jazz blues film

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