Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cashback (2007)

The title doesn't do much to explain what the film is about. A young man, struggling with insomnia due to a breakup, gets an night-shift job in a grocery store.

With it's affecting score and film-making style, the film succeeds in bringing the ordinary into the extraordinary. Combined with the lead's voice-overs, this gives the film an authentic presence. We feel what he feels and see what he sees. We open ourselves up to the simple beauty that exists around us. So many others are blind to it, because they are too busy with managing it to appreciate it. They are too accustomed to trudging through the boring day to day monotony, to stop and stay open to the good things that may exist in each moment.

This is portrayed through effective juxtapositions of attitude in the characters:
While the lead is an artist, who appreciates the aesthetics of a woman's body in and of itself, celebrating it's beauty romantically and gently, from afar, many of the other characters objectify women's bodies out of lust (their way of managing it for their own purposes). While lust is also a reality for Ben, it is not the purpose.

In reality, anyone coming across such a man as the lead character could see his attentions in women as creepy and frustratingly detached as he peers at you quietly, stopping in place in his task at the supermarket.Women may imagine that Ben is imaging stripping their clothes off for lascivious purposes, but no, that is the average man. Perhaps the creepiness factor is attributed to not understanding his simple reason for admiration, a fear that there is some other motive or reason than what is normally acceptable for a man to observe.

Yet, Ben's attentions are actually more ideal and respectful than the commonly accepted objectifications existing rampantly in our modern culture, and as exhibited by the other male characters.

The difference is that there is more to it for Ben, but not in any creepy way. The difference is the unnerving authenticity behind his gaze. The basic fact that he is not just a man in front of a woman, but he is a whole individual, in front of a whole individual. That he actually sees you. That you are seen the way you always wished you would be seen, you are gently honoured for who you simply are, but there are no words to explain or confirm that it is so. This is what actually scares us as women: that he is genuine, that he renders us vulnerable before him and that this demands a level of commitment from us if we are to accept his authenticity. For some women, they need time to ease into, to learn of and to trust such a commitment. Perhaps they have been fooled and hurt in the past.

For Ben, the most average beauty in the film develops further significance and becomes more beautiful, as you get to know her and learn to appreciate her for her interests, goals and values.

In the end, love is simple.

Love is there if you want it to be. You just have to see that it's wrapped in beauty and hidden away in between the seconds of your life. If you don't stop for a minute, you might miss it. "