Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Women with a Past

Pardon me if anything that follows seems offensive or founded on no reason.

I don't meant to be offensive - and my sincere apologies for any hard feeling of any reader and the women that I am going to discuss – but I don't like Isabelle Huppert, at least as seen in Le Pianiste (The Piano Teacher).

Simply put, she is not my cup of tea.

I chose to watch Le Pianiste at Le French May 2006 purely out of recommendation of a cultured friend of mine with remarkable capabilities of artistic appreciation. Pardon me again for my ignorance. I knew nothing about Isabelle Huppert before Le Pianiste. And I did not volunteer to watch it when it was screened in Hong Kong five years ago.

Sitting wearily in the incredibly comfortable cinema seat after a day's work, my eyes were staring at the silver screen but my mind couldn't help wandering in the wild, searching for an answer to the question, "If Isabelle Huppert isn't my type, who is?" Within the split of a second a few names popped up, but the mental surgery continued, "What are the similarities that these ladies from different origins and times of history share? Is there something in common in all of them that is/are irresistibly appealing to me?"

For a few friends, this question seems to be an easy one. But for me, it is never easy to explain it clearly to myself.

After about two hours of soul searching, "sophistication" may be the right word, although I am still not sure whether this is 100 per cent precise or not. Well, true, words are never meant to be precise in the scientific sense. Words, as the medium of expression and representation, are no more than an estimate. Talented writers are ordinary people who make better estimates than the others. They put things in comprehensible text to help other people better understand the world in which they are living. The possible limit of precision is always the result of comparison, not an absolute value.

I like sophisticated women. I like women who are intelligent, knowledgeable and wise. Sophistication can be a Godsend by birth, or an accumulation of life, regardless of its length, by the way. Sophistication is an internal achievement, and yet something that often manifests in the exterior in one way or another. Some people choose, consciously or unconsciously, which is a matter of debate but not a subject of discussion here, to declare their sophistication on their faces and in their behaviour. Some others tend to adopt a more discreet approach.

In my opinion, those who manage to keep their blinding beams of wisdom under clean white shirts and blue denim, and, at the same time, give hints here and there to a subtle declaration of their sophistication at unknown levels are the most charming. Call me a disciple of subtleties, but I am convinced that an eagerness for an explicit manifesto of one's mind is too simple and naive, if confrontational or unhelpful.

What makes life interesting is always the uncertainty and the unknown. The same theory applies to women.

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