RR Films: Leaving

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Far too many poor players have left the stage this year and, although we may tell their tales like babbling idiots, their legacies did signify something. But, no matter how appropriate, I can’t end the year with Death as the topic, can I?

Leaving keeps the door open for some gentler stories and also the possibility of a comeback….so I’ll kick off with Room, a film showing the opposite of the usual journey, leaving a sort of death and (re-)joining life.

What films about leaving would you recommend?

Oh, and let’s all hope more of the good ones stick around a while longer next year….

16 thoughts on “RR Films: Leaving

  1. In the Chinese film “In the Mood for Love”, a man and a woman living in the same apartment building keep leaving for “business” or work-related trips.
    Their spouses inevitably notice that these trips always seem to coincide.
    They get together and discuss how they might confront their (possibly) unfaithful husband/wife but agree that “we won’t be like them”.
    There are some other, equally unfortunate, departures as the film proceeds but it’s possible you haven’t seen it yet so I won’t do spoilers.

  2. First thought was New York, New York, where Robert DeNiro leaves Liza Minelli while she’s in labor.

    But I’ll go with Naked. David Thewlis leaves Manchester for London after raping a woman. Long story short, after getting his ass kicked by thugs towards the end of the film he makes plans to go back to Manchester with his ex-girlfriend. Instead he steals her rent money and leaves the flat. Most likely for somewhere else, where he’ll get into trouble and need to leave again.

    • Great film. That was going to be my suggestion. So, er…, Well, what about Withnail and I? Escaping a dodgy flat, escaping London, trying to leave reality behind. And like the ending in Naked, one companion / friend leaves another behind.

      And keeping the action in the British Isles, we can have The Crying Game, which has a downbeat-upbeat ending.

      Starts singing the Jam’s “Strange Town”.

      • I won’t breathe a word. I woke up this morning with Pavement’s “Box Elder in my head. Somehow that mutated to the Midnight Cowboy theme by the time I’d reached the shower. Withnail and I and Midnight Cowboy would make a great double bill on the theme of leaving and the late 1960s.

  3. Two occur to me, one from last week, ‘It’s A wonderful Life’ in which George Bailey is constantly trying to escape Bedford Falls but, of course, never does and ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ in which the Joad family get kicked off their land in Arkansas (?) and leave for a new life in the “paradise” of California but even here are constantly having to leave the sites they arrive at due to exploitation or a lack of work !

  4. The act of Leaving is the classic starting point for so many films in all different genres. Leaving is the starting point on a journey, so this could include the first film of trilogy of films made out of JRR Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit which was sub-titled “There and Back Again”, but I won’t nominate it because, although I like it, it fits in with so many other genres too.

    There is a particularly American genre, the Road Movie, which clearly starts off with an act of Leaving, and the one I am nomming also has an amazing soundtrack. My choice is the 1969 classic Easy Rider.

    It is about Leaving on many levels. There is obviously the actual departure on the journey to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but it is also about leaving a particular culture and lifestyle behind.

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