I stumbled upon these clips when I was looking up the meaning of the word sonder, it was in a poem that I had read and I wasn't familiar with it. By definition it means - the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Turns out that even though I had never used the word before, I had certainly been sonder many, many times, but it was John Koenig's clip that really brought it home for me.
I can recall spending a lot of time as a child looking at other people's faces as they passed by in other cars on the highway or walked passed a window that I was looking out of and wondering about what they were thinking about, or where they might be going or how they liked to spend their free time. It would be fair to say that I have always been fascinated by the lives of others.
Seth and I have a game that we like to play when we are sitting at a cafe or anywhere that we can observe passers by. My sister introduced this game to us years ago, and it has become a bit a guilty obsession that we regularly like to indulge in. We choose a random person off the street and try to determine what it is that they do for a living, and also what they do for a hobby or when no-one else is looking. We base our assumptions on the way they look, how they dress, objects they may have on their person and their body language.
This is a great game to play with kids, highly imaginative and fantastic for oral language and observational skills, and as long as your child hasn't got a foghorn of a voice when they are making their observations it can be a lot of hilarious fun. Seth has been virtually rolling on the ground with laughter about some of our observations, like the burly bricklayer we spotted that we decided had unfulfilled desires to dance in the ballet and goes home every evening to pull his hair into a neat bun, put on a tutu and some opera music, before pirouetting around his lounge room for hours on end, or the lady that vacuums at Big W who is really just using that as a cover for her real job as a Colombian drug-lord and is secretly addicted to chocolate royal biscuits.
It is a fascinating exercise, pondering the lives of others, but also understanding that we are all wired so uniquely and that we all have a tale of our own to tell that is marvelously intricate and deeply profound. Now that's sonder thinking if ever there was, I'm adding that newly created word to my vocab, I like it a lot.
Release Date: 1999
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 112 mins
Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman hit a sweet and extremely quirky note with Being John Malkovich. This is a movie for anyone that has wanted to experience what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes, or in this case - their mind.
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a portal behind a filing cabinet at work that leads to the mind of John Malkovich. Craig finds that he can observe and sense everything that Malkovich is doing, for only a short period before he is ejected and dropped into a ditch near a New Jersey turnpike. Hoping that he can win the attractions of his co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener) he shares the portal, which proves to be a big mistake when lots of other people begin to be John Malkovich and things rapidly go from odd to even weirder!
The cast is fabulous in this, I am not a fan of Cameron Diaz, but even she was tolerable. Being John Malkovich is a seriously weird and surprising watch with loads or originality and utterly unpredictable outcomes, it's a worthy watch for sure.
FINAL SAY: Meet you in Malkovich in one hour.
3.5 Chili Peppers