I was filming this weekend in the wilds of Milngavie, up on the moors where the view is spectacular and it's very, very cold. A very good friend who is going to be a famous director one day (trust me) was filming a romantic little short about a useless chap and a bohemian girl sharing a perfect date. It's going to be black and white, no dialogue and very pretty, PB (the director) assures me and I have absolutely no doubt of this, he's really rather talented.
It was a lovely shoot, my leading man was an excellent actor and as it happens another very good friend. The shoot concluded with the couple sharing a kiss, the sort of kiss you share with someone for the first time who you know you are falling in love with. It was a little weird, I think made more so by the fact that my partner was being played by someone who I've known for years and am close with, for some reason that made it slightly harder than it would have been had it been a stranger...isn't that odd? After a few takes it was fine.
B - my actor friend - remarked that the shoot reminded him of how nice it feels to be in those early stages of a romance. It was pretend but it reminded me of that too and got me thinking about relationships. They are funny little creatures aren't they?
I won't spoil it for you because as soon as it is ready I will no doubt post the footage everywhere and you will see for yourselves but one of the main themes of the film is disconnection and the notion that relationships can sometimes not live up to how we idealise them in our heads.
We all do that, we build up the idea of someone in our heads so much that the reality can never live up to our expectations. There are obviously varying extremes to this state of mind, the worst case of it is called being a "hopeless romantic". The more cynical end of the spectrum bitterly questions whether or not "romance is dead", was it ever "alive" to begin with? What is romantic for some is utterly prosaic to others.
For example; I define romance as the ability to sit with someone over a case of beer and debate the finer points of why Aliens is one of the best films ever made or whether or not Han did indeed shoot first (he did by the way). For others it's flowers and getting dinner bought for them...I don't like flowers, they make me sneeze and they die, which is depressing, and I can buy my own dinner thank you very much. SO, for me, romance is really what you make of it.
However, when you first meet someone you really like, every bloody thing is romantic isn't it? It's really rather disgusting. The rush you get when you make them laugh and when you discover how much you have in common is so delightful that the whole situation becomes blurry and a bit silly. You decide at that point that you want to spend as much time as you can with this person and pretty soon, before you even realise it, you've hit the couple of years mark. Which is great! But it's a different kind of romance then; a form of romance built on tolerance, comfort and a certain level of dependency that is satisfying but also slightly disconcerting, although I don't know why that is. It's at this stage that every human being pines after those early stages, we can't help it, it's in our nature. We all pine after what we can't have or place way too much onus on what we look back on through rose coloured glasses.
But then we must remember that there are some things that are just that, rose coloured, stained that way by only remembering the fun parts and omitting the other stuff, the less than rosey stuff. The stomach churning awkwardness, the tiring analysis and occasional "game playing" and constant need to be "on" in those early stages.
But it's all good fun...and it makes for good film fodder.
And by the way...believe it or not, I am in fact, a hopeless romantic.