Chocolat Musings

possibly one of the worst trailers I have ever seen. It couldn't have dumbed down this movie any further. Fact: you need to watch this movie, if only for what interest this trailer sparks for you. Hopefully though in watching you will see the deeper conversations within the film.

Gosh my senses are beyond heightened at the moment. I just finished watching Chocolat and my mind is running wild with thoughts. First question I need answered is: Has anyone done a philosophical study on this film? I have so many ideas running through my head that I don't think my fingers can keep up with all that I want to jot down.

ok fragmented thoughts that i need to elaborate on later: senses, sensual intelligence, experiencing life through the senses, the scene where the count eats all the chocolate, character development, the priest's speech at the end, symbolism, religion and the body, spirituality, the american evangelical need to restrain the senses, beauty, all people indulge in something, my freshman year attempt to rid myself of all "desires", philosophy of art, what is being?, purpose in living is to create, taking on the form of the creator, the early churches use of beauty to connect more deeply in faith, taste/touch/smell, when my mind is running fast and I am thinking most deeply I run my fingers across my lips, why do we "restrain"?, What were Jesus' restraints?, Why must we restrain and who deems what as being necessary to restrain from and what as ok to indulge in? Societal labels of what is "good" and what is "bad"

what is the root of being? as a freshman in college I tried to rid myself of all desires. Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking. I guess that sometimes passion and determination overpowers logic? No, it wasn't a battle of logic and passion. For me the two seem very intertwined. I think that in abstracted ways I can go to extremes to test my thoughts. I am not an extremist in testing my body or health. I am actually really cautious and careful. But I have always been extremely analytical and I always feel a deep need to push my mind forward. I ended my search to rid myself of "desires" when I realized in trying to rid myself of desires, I was in fact deeply desiring expansion of thought. I cannot escape desire. It is essential to my being, to experiencing life. Why was i created? To avoid experience of anything? I think not! I was created to think deeply, to feel deeply, to reflect, contemplate, to glean from creatives of the mind, creatives who employ the senses to seek deeper understanding, I was created to create. I am a reflection of my maker. I believe in God, and I believe that in living I am supposed to respect Him. Unfortunately, in the years growing up in America, especially in the years at Catholic school and at a huge public high school I was fed the thoughts that to be "religious" or "spiritual" I must restrain restrain restrain. It never seemed "right" to me. And yet I was so restrained as a child, so proper and cautious. I didn't do anything risky unless I had really thought through it on my own and had decided that it was the choice I wanted to make. I was always very independent and in experimentation, I never chose to test the seemingly illogical choice first to then come to the logical choice second. When presented with choices, no matter if those choices came from a wise adult or an idiot peer, I first needed to asses what I thought was the right or best choice on my own before indulging in the physical experimentation. People think I am really spacey, and this is true to an extent, but I think a lot of people presume that I must therefore be a very messy and chaotic person, whereas in truth I am very methodical and structured. I like to exercise my left and right brain equally.
(on the SATs I got an even score between the Math and the English sections. I contribute that to enjoying 2 ways of thinking and processing information... Though in school i got much better grades in English, enjoying the creative and philosphical aspects much more than the square thought of most of my math classes.)

I have never considered myself a "conservative" person. I have always bounced around on the more liberal side of the fence. And sadly, I have seen friends look at me with distaste when I voice opinions that may seem a little more left than right. My friends often tease me for being so spacey or abstract, some saying that I live in a dream land. Occasionally these words make me feel like I am not taken seriously in my thoughts. Though my train of thinking may not be confined within the pattern of mainstream thought, I do hope that those who perhaps think very differently than me can still respect how and what I think.

I have things to say, and I don't just whip these ideas out of nowhere. I brood and I chatter about it in my mind which eventually leads to a need to release it all out once it becomes too complex to handle in mind goop form. Then again, I do the same thing in an opposite sort of way when it comes to thinking. That doesn't make sense... ok there are 2 ways of thinking that bubble up in my head: Taking a simple thought and then expanding and expanding and expanding until it becomes intricately interlaced and complex... and then on the flip side, taking a million confusing ideas, mulling over them for days, months or years and then suddenly having a burst of thought that is so simple and everything winds down into a single clear statement. And usually I have heard that single simple phrase before, even hundreds of times, but it just has taken me years of deep thinking with a wrinkled brow to finally reach the point of truly grasping the power of that beautifully stated simple sentence.

Obviously, my mind is kind of exploding at the moment. I have a lot of things I feel like I need to chatter on and on about and I need to get it out in written words, philosophical writing or just mind musings, or lyrical poetic writing, or in the sounds played on an instrument, or through color and semiotics explored through painting and drawing.

To me, this is what it feels like to live. To think and then to find ways to share. I don't particularly feel the need to fulfill the phrase "making a mark on the world." I have always hated that phrase actually, ESPECIALLY when spoken within a Christian mindset. making a mark on the world. It sounds so conquer-esque. Does that make sense? I am not alive to win anything, to show off anything, to try to make people acknowledge me. I am not alive to attempt to selfishly place myself above anything or anyone. I am not alive to live more loudly than anyone else. I don't want to "mark" anyone or anything. "making a mark on the world" sounds like I am attempting to claim something as MINE. What is truly mine?
Really now, what is truly mine? Everything under the sun has been done before. And yet there are always new things, new pictures. My faith and the continual rising of new philosophical questions are what help me live. All that is mine is truly God's. I need to believe in God to try to seek out tiny fragments of answers to my questions, but at the same time, I need to believe in God to create more questions of "why?" I don't feel like I am particularly battling with God ever. Though I do always feel to be on this weird wire of falling into complete and utter devotion and security in God's mystery and then falling out into the world separate from God that attempts to seek answers in a humanist manner.

ok jump to another thought: the scene in Chocolat where the Count breaks into the Chocolate shoppe and attacks the chocolate and then gorges himself in it. This is the apex of the film. God, this film is really incredible. If you view life through a mind similar to mine, I think you would adore this film. It's just got so much symbolism interwoven into each character, each scene, each sub-story, each snipet of imagery, the way each scene is shot, the slowness or quickness of each scene, the patterns of speech. The details the details! Ah, phenomenal. did this film win any awards ever?
Anyway, I digress... back to the pivotal scene of the Count with the chocolate. So the Count is in complete control of the village, or at least he thinks. He has the rules. He uses the church as a crutch to expand his unhealthy reaction against his own struggles. he lives SUCH a reactionary life. He faintly acknowledges his own temptations and then runs the opposite direction. He doesn't try to seek deeper understanding of that which tempts him. He just sees it, freaks out, and then sets up rules the help him ignore.

Gosh, I can relate so deeply to this way of living. I literally feel like I only stopped living this way less than a year ago. I used to be SO reactionary, as I have explain in past posts. Going from one extreme to the other does not solve the initial problem. It just makes you bitter.
the Count is bitter. And in his bitterness, he tries to find comfort from his own inward resentment by forcing his own disciplinary way of living upon those around him. The parts of himself that he is uncomfortable with he then highlights in others, and in so doing attempts to hold himself above others, focusing on his own restrains rather than the deeper underlying urges of his being.

This film is all about the senses. All about a sensory way of living, a sensual way of living. I think on a simple level, one could easily write off the sensual emphasis of this film as borderline erotic or just self indulgence. But it seems to me so much more. It is questioning the root of how we live our lives. Are your senses involved? What is it that guides your life, your thoughts? your senses? And what is it that you choose to restrain, thoughts, senses, both? Do you choose to restrain at all? Why do we restrain? How does religion or spirituality connect with these questions? Who is in conversation in these film beyond the written conversations of the characters? How does this film answer the question of how to live?

It is so complex and yet the film plays so smoothly and basic ideas are still accessible to the viewer without being totally out of this world abstracted. Basic questions that lead to deeper and deeper thoughts.

Ok I don't think i can type any longer because everything that I have to say right now will take up hours of writing and ruminating. So i will attempt to come back to it all at a later date (not that this all will stop revolving in my mind, its bouncing around in my head every second really...). But one thing I can conclude from all this thinking sparked by this film is that in my deepest deepest heart of hearts, I am made to think about the world and about living through the lens of an artist. I am an artist, I have always been an artist, and I always will. I have a mind, I have a heart, and I use both heavily. I seek to learn, to understand, and to be more deeply mystified. And on a practical level: I want so desperately to go to grad school for Art Theory. I want to discuss and critique, to debate and ruminate over art. I see the physical and spiritual world through an artistic eye. And by seeing I don't just mean in the physical sense. I seek to go beyond just "looking."

I love to SEE. And I want to expanding my seeing through studying Art Theory. This is where my deepest passion lies. Art is a reflection of life!!!!!! AH!!! And i want to understand life in a philosophical and practical way through the arts. This is how I intake all things and how i expel them. Woo. This film did a lot for me tonight. I have been having such a moody week I don't know why. But all crankiness was relieved today for some reason and my head and heart are feeling especially ablaze tonight from this film. Perfect timing. Only you God can time things so mysteriously, I will never understand your ways. And I will ever thank you for complexities. Thank you for your beautiful creation, in the visible and invisible. It is all so magical to me.

ps, thank you God for chocolate. Another reminder of why and how I live a highly sensory life.


-Just- said...

Hey, what an awesome movie. I haven't seen it in a while but I loved what you wrote about it. When I first saw it I had much the same reaction, though I might have been a bit more cynical towards the Christian side of it. Anyways, great movie, glad it made you think, and I'm glad it made you feel better. Oh, and I'm thinking, maybe you and I SHOULD make a kid's book. I think it could be awesome!

Rachel.d.Hurley said...

that sounds amazing!!