On Live-Blogging the Super Bowl (In the Mood for Love)


In which The Gay Recluse live-blogs the Super Bowl.

5:58. Our friend T___ arrives to give us haircuts. He tells us that his mother, who is only 64 years old, has just been diagnosed with an inoperable form of brain cancer. She has just begun chemotherapy, and to give him encouragement, we tell him about another friend of ours who underwent a similar procedure a few years ago and whose cancer is now in complete remission. Still, how can he — or his father — be anything but devastated? He says it helps to talk about it though, and we listen as best we can.

6:45. We ask him if he is following the election, and he jokes that he thought we were going to ask him about the Super Bowl, about which he knows even less than we do. “I was in Dunkin’ Donuts,” he says, “and some straight boy asked me what I thought about the game. I told him, ‘uhhh, it’s going to be close’.” He tells us he is voting for Barack.

6:52: We ask T___ about the gay sex club that’s been operating in the building where he runs his hair-cutting salon. He had complained about it in the past because he doesn’t like men hanging around in the same hallway through which his clients must pass to get to his space. Apparently someone from the club confronted him: “So you’re the closet-case who’s been complaining about us?” T___ corrected him: “I’m an openly gay man, but I can’t have tweaked-out Chelsea Boys eating pizza in front of my business.”

7:06. T___ leaves. What else can we say to him besides “courage”?

7:34. Apparently the Giants are losing. We finish writing up our endorsement of Barack.

8:14. Take-out arrives from Tawaa, a new Indian restaurant on Broadway between 168th and 169th Streets, a few doors up from the Starbucks.

8:28. We begin watching In the Mood for Love, the 2000 film by Wong Kar-wei. Set in Hong Kong in 1962, we are introduced to two married couples who rent neighboring apartments; not long into the film, we learn that the off-screen husband of one of these couples and the wife of the other (we also never see her) are having an affair; the film meanwhile follows the relationship between the non-cheating husband and wife (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung), who are obviously very attracted to each other but who resolve not to give into their desire, so as not to repeat the actions of their respectives spouses. From the first frame of the movie we are entranced; there is an obsessively sumptuous quality to the movie reflected in every detail of every set, from the lamp shades to the curtains to — most hypnotically — Maggie Cheung’s beautiful dresses, each one in exactly the same cut — high neck, sleeveless, hemmed just below the knee — but in a completely different fabric, ranging from lush floral motifs to geometric designs in 1960s neon green. Certain scenes are presented in slow motion to the same haunting music — in waltz time — and we are reminded of Contempt, the Jean-Luc Godard film that featured a similar (and similarly haunting) device.

8:56. The disk freezes — fucking Netflix! — and we have to take it out and clean it.

10:02. We finish the movie with only a few rough patches in the disk; oddly enough these technical malfunctions don’t really impact the film, which is already filled with repeated scenes and frozen stills. By the end we are completely stunned by the poetic beauty and resignation of this work. We want to inhabit its style and its ruins; it is a masterpiece.

10:05. We can’t bear the thought of leaving this movie completely behind, so we decide to take photographs of it on the television screen. We try to time it so that the crazy bars don’t interfere too much with the shots.

11:14: Apparently the Giants won. Come-from-behind victory. Hearing this news, we feel somehow vindicated. It’s time for bed.

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