Breakfast at Tiffany's - (1961) Directed by Blake Edwards
Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard
I'm sure as I write, there are a dozen people in New York discovering Breakfast at Tiffany's, purchasing the film, renting a netflix, purchasing the novel, hearing about the story from others; then there are those who've done all of this already and are just watching their own copy of the film, or rereading Truman Capote's novel. I knew about the film before I knew who the name Audrey Hepburn belonged to. Such being the popularity adorned by Holly Golightly, I will spare any talk about Breakfast at Tiffany's only mentioning that the film did not surprise me in being good but did however, surprise me in that, I was expecting a high end fashion film about some spoiled upper class socialite who learns a lesson somewhere between thousand-dollar-wardrobe changes and pretty jewelry montages. I couldn't be any more wrong. The contents of the film are full of substance, this wasn't simply, How to Marry a Millionaire. And Holly Golightly, I've seen before...in many bars and the opening receptions of many art galleries. Her apartment is familiar and I understand everything about her. I sympathize but its also self-sympathy, so its more along the lines of empathic reflection; placing yourself in someone else's shoes because you recognize them as your shoes as well. I hope that doesn't inspire a cross-dressed conclusion. I've read In Cold Blood by Capote and have been curious to read some of his fiction, specifically anything before In Cold Blood.
After Breakfast at Tiffany's TCM played Days of Wine and Roses. I couldn't stop watching. I'm not a fan of horror films but thats exactly what films about alcoholism tend to be for me.
Days of Wine and Roses - (1962) Directed by Blake Edwards
Starring Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick
I myself do not drink and I don't hold it against anyone who does nor do I morally judge them for it. However, as a teen I used to be straight-edge and gave friends a hard time whenever I saw one of them leaning a Friday night drink against their lips. I gave this righteous inquisition up a long time ago; besides noticing it made me an asshole, I soon also realized I didn't care whether they drank or not, so long as I remained sober.
Therein lies my true addiction, remaining sober. I want to be conscious and aware at all times, to feel, taste, experience through the dryness of sobriety; untampered or altered by any outside influence. Being drunk reminds me of a kind of sleep, and I hate sleep, I participate in very little hours of slumber, just enough in fact, to not be deprived of it. Sobriety is also my sort of rebellion, my anti-soma with which I remain awkwardly awake and self-conscious, over analyzing and tensely uncomfortable. A stubborn refusal to obscure the world from its intensity, for better or worse, to see it as it is at all times. Comfort, for me, has come to mean: safe; unworried and unaware of any danger or unexpected circumstance. I cling to my sobriety ironically, for the comfort of control. To be drunk is to let go, hands off the steering wheel, to free oneself of control. I find this an impossibility for myself. I view my life within a universe that is random and my life just as random and beyond my control except for daydreams. But my body...that, I can hold. My body, this I can control, I can watch and be master of its every step like a director through a camera lens. This control is the only control I have in my possession and to forfeit such a power seems grotesque to me.
Again, I don't spend my time worrying about if anyone else drinks, lightly or heavily. Your life is your life and live it you shall, as you see fit to. There is nothing too awful about alcohol consumption other than it being an obsession and as of all obsessions, it can take over your life...warping your judgement, reasoning, and performance. This however, is true of all obsessions; whether they are considered vice or not. I myself, have my obsessions which I won't give up. Who am I to say this obsession is right but this one wrong? This one casual and this one severe?
All the same, I am embarrassed by drunk people, maybe even a bit ashamed. I try not to be the latter of the two but it happens. Even if they are strangers, even if its from a distance, an inebriated person makes me blush a little inside. That lack of reserve, denial of inhibition is truthful and should be applauded but its not delivered from such a purpose as a confession. These revelations of the individual who's had too much to drink aren't offered by a conscious decision to do so. I agree to any theory that considers it a subconscious working, where the drink is desired as a vehicle to drive the truth upwards and out, like an exorcised ghost. But this only further reminds me of the inability of a sober confession, from both the inebriated and the sober. It haunts for me, an image of a person with 20/20 vision who does not like what he sees so he wears glasses that not only blunts his vision but also damages his eyesight in the long run. This self-damage is hard on me to witness, it also feels like voyeurism; as if I'm peering into an intimacy offered, one which the individual who is offering is not fully aware of this proposed invitation.
This is why as I watched Blake Edwards' Days of Wine and Roses, I might as well have been watching one of the Saw films.
You sit there and all this self-abuse unravels before you through these characters who can't help themselves. The film is well paced and handled very respectfully. Without coming across as preachy or morally overbearing, Edwards builds up a fluent antagonist of alcoholism without forgetting the humanity of both Jack Lemmon's Joe Clay and Lee Remick's Kirsten Arnesen Clay; married, parents, and both alcoholics. With glasses in their hands, you feel as if they're walking down some dark corridor, where its obvious a killer is going to jump out and slit their throats. You want to help them not condemn them. Both Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick give amazing performances, the fall of Lee Remick's character was grippingly sad and a perfect match for the ingression of Jack Lemmon's character from alcoholic to admitted alcoholic. Watching both, and through powerful performances and direction, you invest in a woman who doesn't know how deep she's drowned and a man who does know the fathom of his situation but any pause can swallow him back down as he swims upwards to dry out.