My own private Idaho (1991)

First of, I don’t really get some parts of the movie. Its mosaic narrative style confused me. The only thing that makes sense is the beauty of River Phoenix.

I love motorcycle scenes in boys love movies (watch Eternal summer, 2006). They open a special room for the chemistry between the characters. The warm breath on the nape skin, the moments of intimacy that resonate with my memories of sitting on my crush’s motorbike pillion those days in senior high.

Young, beautiful and reckless, the protagonists of My own private Idaho remind me of the characters in Wong Kar-wai’s Days of being wild. Youth is eternity. Eternity is not so much an infinite sequence of moments as a fleeting glimpse. Goethe said, the moment is eternity.

Since when taking this life seriously becomes a noble way of living? Does Scott really have to live up to his father’s expectation of leading a so-called decent life?

The scene in which Mike confides his unrequited love for Scott is sweet but heartbreaking. Youth is something incomplete, filled with regret in some cases.

But why is it Gus Van Sant’s “private Idaho”? The plot was in fact developed from a novel by John Rechy, but the title was given by Gus Van Sant, and it could be a reference to a song by The B-52’s, which, in its turn, refers to Twilight Zone, the last episode of the TV show The Bewitchin’ Pool, whose story is about the kids being neglected by their parents. And that’s also the story of Mike and Scott.

Mike travels back and forth in his constant search of a distant mother whereas his mother is also in search of her distant family. Such causal cycle is really terrific. What is it that makes searching for one’s own root so important?

Then it was vividly symbolized by a scene of salmons swimming up the waterfall. Salmon has an interesting life. They are born in the headwater, but the coming-of-age ones travel downstream to the ocean. Right here, they enjoy their “days of being wild” and when they get mature, they return to the river source to give birth and die.

But, why narcolepsy? I still don’t know.

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