Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Mystery in a Kiss

I know we’re all about the mystery and suspense here at NYUS. Which is why I’m posting a link to this kissing movie.

Maybe you’ve seen it already?

Lots of views, especially after the NYT did a blurb on it. Some people didn’t like learning it was part of an ad campaign for clothes. I think that shows exactly how effective the film is.


Here’s the premise: Ten strangers. Paired off into five couples. Cameras roll. Now kiss.

The fun of the film isn’t necessarily watching the people kiss. Cameras have a hard time getting close enough to show what’s happening when people really kiss--lips mashing against each other, noses in the way, insides getting tingly. Although the filmmaker does a good job of cutting back and forth between the couples, giving the viewer just enough of a snippet to let our minds fill in the scene: a lip tugged between teeth, a hand touching a cheek. Exactly like writing, it's all in the details.

What I love is the moment before, and the moment after, each set of strangers kiss. The film captures the awkwardness of exchanging an intimacy with an unknown, and that weird moment when they must return to being strangers. I’ve watched a dozen time and find something new each time in the body language or the flashes of dialogue.

Notice how they address the person behind the camera, instead of the person they are about to kiss? They reveal their vulnerability in all these tiny ways and it’s completely endearing-- taking a step back, touching fingers, laughing. “It’s actually pretty scary,” one man says to his partner.

Near the end, after their kiss one man says, “I just want to hug you.” And turning away from the camera, his partner answers so softly it's hard for us to hear, “OK.”

I think the film does a great job of capturing the suspense and mystery of what happens between people—and isn’t that the best kind?


8 comments:

Toni Anderson said...

I love this video :) How intimate and connecting is kissing???

J Wachowski said...

I know, right! There's so much detail here illustrating how people respond to intimacy. Great stuff!

Rita said...

This is brilliant. I watch movies scenes over and over again to understand emotions and reactions. I also watch people in the grocery.

jean harrington said...

Okay! Have you ever had a Grandma Kiss? It's when your significant other throws his/her arms around you, looks deep into your eyes, gathers you close and--just as your eyelashes flutter down--the lips that you expect to be soft and passionate, firm into a tight line. The problem with this type of kiss is you never know when it's coming. Your only defense is to spring it on the prankster every once in a while. What can I say? Life is long without a little fun in it.

Anne Marie Becker said...

OMG I was squirming at their awkwardness, but there's also such a sweetness about it. Interesting psychological/sociological experiment!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oof! My insides were all aflutter, too. :-) What an interesting little experiment (and how invaluable for writers)!

J Wachowski said...

Rita, I do too! And occasionally I get that weird flash-expression of "Stop looking at me, creepy stalker!" Ooops.
Jean, that's hilarious. Will have to try that.
Anne Marie--I thought you would appreciate this movie!
Marcelle--good for film people too. I'm fascinated by the way the camera and the "stranger" merge and overlap in this experiment. Did you notice how the people talk to the camera not their partners? And their body language is also reacting to the camera, not the person? Really interesting!

Dee J. said...

I was uncomfortable when I first started watching it. But I think that goes to personal experience and having to kiss a stranger for an audition. I totally know what it feels like, but I was too nervous to feel any warm fuzzies. Same with this... I was too nervous for them to enjoy it. (And maybe that's why I didn't get that part. Haha.)