Just a girl rambling around the globe and writing about it.

Musings from around the block and farther.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lessons from The Darjeeling Limited

Arguably, Raf's and my favorite movie (collectively) of the past several years is Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited." I've read so many unfavorable reviews of this movie that it makes me scratch my head and wonder why we love it so much... but then we'll watch it again (and again) and I just have to believe that we all just love what we love. That, and the timing of when we originally saw it was spot-on.
If you haven't seen it, it's about three estranged brothers who reunite in India at the request of the oldest brother, Frances (played by Owen Wilson), a year after their father died unexpectedly. The younger two brothers (Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) don't know it, but Frances is hoping that they'll track down their mother, who has run away to become a nun, and secretly Frances is hoping that both the journey to find her AND her motherly instincts will provide spiritual insight and somehow protect them, much in the way that their father probably did.

Right, so you can imagine how this goes... the brothers disagree on most things and argue about who was the father's favorite, etc. They travel with an army of their father's monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage through train stations and into remote villages, trying to get a sense of what this life is all about.

When we saw Darjeeling, it was nearly a year after Raf's father had passed away suddenly and the poignant sadness and loss of direction that pervades the film resonated with both of us, as well as the three brothers on a quest to find themselves (Raf is one of three sons and also has an older sister, so it's a little off, but the feeling is right). There is a searching in the movie... and though the characters never really find themselves, it's as though it's okay to just keep putting one foot in front of the other without a real spiritual direction. And that message was hopeful to both of us when Raf's dad died.

Now, in light of Raf's brother Max's death, it's hard to even find a reason to put one foot in front of the other. Raf and I talked about it extensively yesterday, sitting in the small clearing behind our suite at the Chateau, enclosed in oleander trees. Without Max, who was Raf's main business partner and closest friend, he feels as though there's nothing that we have to go back "home" for. It's both disorienting and freeing. I've found that I don't have the same homesickness that I usually get when I travel, either; maybe it's because I'm with my family, maybe it's because I don't have a connection with my new home yet, maybe it's because life has changed so dramatically lately that I don't know what to expect or what I should be doing or even what the point of any of it is. If there is a spiritual connection, I don't quite get it. Maybe this is all there is. As Jack, the youngest brother in Darjeeling, says, "Maybe this is part of it."
Anyway, I was thinking of the movie this morning when I woke up because we're about to embark on the last leg of our journey and fly to Paris. I wondered what my lessons have been on this trip and I thought of a line from Darjeeling, when the train that the brothers are riding stops suddenly and they disembark to see what's going on. Frances asks his assistant where they are and the assistant says, "They don't know... We haven't located us yet."

Frances repeats the line to explore its spiritual meaning, and I will, too:

We haven't located us yet.

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