Reliving Memories Through Celluloid

by Mahek

“Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive.” ~ Martin Scorsese


I get absorbed in the above mentioned quote even more, after watching ‘Sideways’ again tonight. I had seen the movie once sometime back. I happen to remember that I liked it. It was a good experience. That’s what happens when you try to remember the movie you have seen a long time ago, you remember these tiny moments. You feel the place or the environment of the time you watched that movie. You remember these small, insignificantly significant moments. And with all these small details, you breathe the same air that you breathed at the time you watched that movie. When I thought of Sideways, I thought “Yea..pretty cool movie. Just two friends hitting it down the road. Bunch of interesting stuff about wine.” But when I saw it this night again, it was just so much more! That kind of fascinated me and made me write this note.

There are movies that make you smile, jump off your seat in thrill, leave you surprised while you’re busy picking up the jaw from the ground, make you scared and almost make you shut your eyes in the most anxious moments… you get the idea! And then.. there are movies which speak directly to your soul. You don’t know how but you just feel– this is right! Sometimes, there is a  movie that transcends you from your dark room and makes you feel you are there, in the celluloid frame, living with those characters. Sideways for me, was something like that!


The character that talked to my subconscious was Miles. Miles has a passion about wines and all the process that goes down in making them. I neither know much about wines, nor I am fond of them. What hit the right stroke was his passion about something, something which maybe insignificant to all others around him, but for him.. for him, it was his gate-away from daily boring life routine, and eventually, the life itself. Miles struggles to get his novel published, ‘The Day After Yesterday’. “You mean.. Today?” asks his friend, Maya. But that’s not how Miles sees the today. For him, the present is like a conclusion of the past. “Why do you always have to focus on negative?” shouts his best friend at him, who is out with Miles on a trip a week before his own wedding. But for a guy who is failing to get his work published for years, whose divorced wife is about to get re-married while he still mourns over her and has a habit of ‘Drink and Dial’, for him, maybe positive things don’t matter anymore. I don’t think Miles would have always been a pessimist. Nobody is born one. It’s the experience of one’s life which makes an optimist turn into pessimist, I think.

There is a scene where Miles describes why he loves Pinot the most among all the other wines. He describes how the grapes for this wine have to be nurtured with gentle care, how vulnerable they are, and how the process makes the wine so unique. While he is describing this, he’s describing himself without being aware of it. And that’s what we do, don’t we? There’s a reason why we love some things better than anything else, and the reason is that those things feel special because you find your reflection in them. So the trip that was supposed to be ‘fun’ becomes a self-discovering experience, both for Miles and his friend, Jack.

Miles hasn’t always been a loner as I wrote earlier. He had a wife. For some reasons (or not), things don’t work out for them, as they usually don’t. Miles is left alone. He tries to keep himself occupied in a novel project. The novel is a fiction, but still, very much based on true events of his life, that’s what he says. I’m not surprised. For a man, who is occupied by his past so heavily, it’s impossible to not get distracted by real life in the process of creating an alternate reality on a paper.

But Miles does find a new road in his life while having the road trip with his best friend. A road where he thinks his friend, Maya, would be an ideal partner. The movie ends with a very memorable moment. Miles drives off from his home after getting a voice mail from Maya. It’s a misty, rainy morning. He stands there, outside the door of her home. And the scene fades to black after just a knock on the door. A moment so moving that you can’t help but feel optimistic about Miles, and in the process, you feel optimistic about yourself. Even for a moment, you do. 


I hope Miles’ novel gets published. I hope he is having a good day, maybe having a coffee with Maya after reaching at her home. And to make oneself hope, takes much of an effort. Maybe that’s why I feel, this movie is special.