Begin as close to the end of the story as possible. - Kurt Vonnegut


La Ritournelle

I have a weakness for films that have less dialogue and more… images. People smoking cigarettes where you can hear them exhale and think of things to themselves. Waves smoothed by gentle summer breeze.  Aimless walks in parks. Long and lasting hugs. Stares thrown to one another across the room. Specks of dust suspended in rays of sunlight. Spare conversations - where there’s much more space room for thought. Oslo, 31 August has this quality. There was this scene where the girl Anders (the protagonist) found in a bar asks him to join her in a public pool, along with a couple of friends. It's a momentous day: it was the last day of summer, and pools will be closed until the next year. You can see the confusion in Anders' face... how he wanted to jump in and retreat at the same time. I like that. I like how this took place without being said. I also like that part where a trip to an upscale cafe became an opportunity to watch people and eavesdrop on their conversations; although you couldn't really read what was running in his mind, you couldn't help but think that this made him realize how shallow people's problems are in contrast to his, a recovering drug addict who is trying to drown his own demons - which surfaced in his job interview as an editorial assistant. He would later learn that his friends, despite leading successful lives, have issues that are just as complex, aggravated by the fact that theirs are suppressed and hidden from plain sight: Mirjam and her anxiety towards having a child with her fiancé Calle; his sister's wariness over his progress; his ex-lover's tacit rejection of his calls despite his pleas. His conversations with Thomas were the only thing that's comforting - it's the only part that gave Anders hope. Only when he found his childhood home with furniture piled up and and china kept in boxes that are about to be moved out - as the house is sold by his parents to pay for his rehab - did he realize that his case is hopeless, and he needed his fix.


The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment (1985) … launched through the ceiling of a Soviet-era apartment, the man leaves behind two shoes. Photograph: © Ilya & Emilia Kabakov

George from Sephora

There was this salesman in Sephora named George who was genuinely interested with my four year-old son: What’s his name? Where did he come from? Was it his first time in the US? He said he was from the Dominican Republic, and that he arrived here two years ago - hence his thick Latino accent. He looked and sounded passionate about his job. He gave my son a parting gift: a Nest Indigo sample, and he said it was great to meet him. My son then whispered to me, in this adorable-kid manner, that people in the US are very kind.