A Ghost Story ★★★★★

It’s wonderful, so please excuse me as I pontificate and mumble my way through vague ideas and shaky philosophy much like the snide, pompous guy at the party in this movie.

Like it’s been shot through one of those viewmasters, “the introspective ghost pack”, with moments being captured in single frames, and memories stuck in the crevices of the walls. I think it’s about the intangibility of attempting to access what matters to us. The film exists in this inarticulate state - try describing it to someone who hasn’t seen it without stumbling over your words and sounding like the film originated in a strange dream - as deft as gossamer, focusing on how memory feels, how we live and breathe moments that have shaped our lives, and perhaps how we unintentionally are affected by lives we’ve never encountered. The film grapples with this struggle, the inexpressible part of ourselves that we seek to connect with through different mediums: books, music, film, etc. These things appear in the film from time to time but play a big role: how a single line from a random book can change the way you think, how a perfect sequence in a piece of music can capture a moment better than words ever could. They feel spiritual when someone manages to tap into that higher plane, like we’re all stuck in a fish bowl, and they’re viewing us from the other side of the glass.

Captured here is the will to want to leave our mark on the world. Perhaps we do leave pieces of ourselves behind in the strangest of ways, leaving imprints of ourselves in the places we’ve been. We affect them in some way, stick to the walls like glue. But also maybe that’s a mirage, maybe we don’t. We like to think we matter and matter enough to leave a scar on the skin of the earth. Maybe that’s why the ghost remains there through it all, watching each insignificant life go by in an instant, waiting for someone it doesn’t remember. Hoping that at some point, when it all comes back around, there will be a sign that when alive, it did make a difference, that it did leave a lasting effect, that it did matter. But maybe it didn’t, and maybe it eventually disappears because, upon finally reading the note, realises that people move on, their memories disintegrate, and even the ones that remember you will go and it’ll be like you were a ghost all along. The film sort of lives the mantra of the wordy monologue man at the party; billions of lives blown by in seconds. Living, breathing actual people left to be not even a footnote.

This glides by, it’s deathly still and tragically beautiful. Even the ghosts talking to each other somehow didn’t feel ridiculous, though I could understand some people having trepidation over those scenes. Communicating telepathically is so 2015. I think what hit me the hardest was when everything became circular, it all came back around to the beginning and I just imagine seeing everything go round again, being able to witness your life from a new perspective, to relive mistakes and see yourself feel happiness again. And while yes you may be completely insignificant and illegitimate, you did exist, you’ll always have a story, and maybe that’s all that counts. Even if you are just a ghost.

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