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Monday, April 12, 2004
The One With Man On the Train

Sur le Pont Neuf j'ai rencontré...
Celui que je fus à l'orée
Celui que je fus à l'aurore

by Louis Aragon (1956)

Watched Patrice Leconte's Man On the Train, a French movie last night. For short synopsis, it was about two guys; Manesquier and Milan. Manesquier, a retired literature teacher while Milan, a criminal. Both were waiting for the coming Saturday. On that very day, they were to be on an important event of their lives. For Milan, it was to rob the bank; which he normally does anyway after retiring from the circus as a stuntnman. So we could foresee that somehow the Saturday robbery in this small province is different than the others for Milan. As for Manesquier, it was a heart operation that was indeed death threathening. Two men, on the verge of the end of their lives, turned to strangers, in search of themselves, the meaning of their lives and their hopes and dreams.

As for me, I like the simplicity of two total strangers meet before the end of the their lives, to entwine together, and embark on a special friendship that totally bedazzles all. Manesquier was a chatty and was probably thought as a nuisance to Milan. And Milan being so secretive and defensive however succumbed to the power of Manesquier's honest conversation. Both were astonished and envied each other. Both respected each other. Then, that's when the friendship was created. Although, the friendship only lasted less than a week, I am sure those were the days that they would remember on the day they died. As for Milan and Manesquier, their envy tend to make them wish that they were living each other lives. Or in another way, they want to be given a second chance in life to lead a different life.

More critics;Patrice Leconte's Man On the Train, had a different end in this movie. He gave the characters a few seconds to relive that dream of theirs. And that got me into thinking that, that's definitely very unrealistic but seems to be very optimistic in some ways to the living. In which, as someone still breathing today, if you ever might think that you might die today, and if you have some dreams or hopes that you want to fulfil, there's always that one second for you to change your lives. Perhaps you might still be breathing the next second. You might never know the outcome if you dont do it. And you might never know when your time is up.

Be optimistic. Grab the chances. Make that change. Seize the day!

Man On the Train won Best Picture and Best Actor (Jean Rochefort as Manesquier) for Venice Film Festival 2003.

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