Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lance Hood: The Coffee Shop--A Response to Head-On

(ENG 282 student response)

The Coffee Shop

It is not uncommon for films to leave me in a state of quiet contemplation for a moment after viewing them, begging that I invest at least a few reflective thoughts in their honor. It is uncommon, however, for a film to leave me in that same state of contemplation for an entire evening, and rarer still for me to be considering the events that transpired therein almost a week later. Head-On (2004) has managed to accomplish the near-impossible.

This film's grip on my mind stems from the similarities that can I can see between the main character and myself. Sure, I don't collect beer bottles in a nightclub for a living. I don't leave work—drunk of course—drive over to the local watering hole, get kicked out and proceed to drive drunk into a brick wall—but I have felt rejection. I have felt the sting of loneliness that is brought on by the loss of a loved one. I have waited for the sky to open up and for the perfect person to descend from the Heavens and enter my life, ignoring those people that are already present, and it is within these things that the similarity resides.

In spite of all of his quirks and his obvious lack of self-control, Cahit is a very likable character. His violent outbursts are all performed with a comedic tone that brings an almost guilty smile to the face of viewers, making him even more likable and making it even harder to watch him suffer. Perhaps the most powerful scene in the film comes in the last few minutes: Cahit is sitting in a coffee shop waiting for Sibel to arrive so that they can leave together and go off to his homeland… but Sibel never shows up. Thankfully, Cahit decides to move on without her as it is apparent that she has moved on without him, even though she promised she would not.

This is the scene that has been haunting me. How many times have I waited in the same coffee shop? How many times have I made grandiose plans with someone only to wind up standing alone for an undetermined amount of time, eventually calling the whole thing off because I'd rather not go it alone? How many times have I let someone else's reaction to my choices prevent me from trying something bold and new? Considering the amount of time that I have spent contemplating the film, the answer is fairly apparent.

So what of it? Looking back at the film, it becomes obvious that until he met Sibel, Cahit was waiting for something—probably death—to come and set things straight. Sibel wasn't what he wanted, and though things between the two ended tragically, Cahit was liberated from his self-imposed bondage. Because of her making him forget his widow, and then eventually betraying him, he was able to look at the world and tell himself that one person surely isn't worth getting caught up on for any amount of time—certainly not the rest of his life. And it seems as though Cahit is able to give up his worst habits, too, and move on with a slate about as clean as someone who has gone through what he has can.

The moral of the story is clear after so much contemplation. Carpe diem. Stop living in the past and a brighter future will present itself. Forget dwelling on 'the one that got away'—the one that has yet to be found is just as good, if not better. Don't let past mistakes interfere with future successes, and for your own sake, get the hell out of the coffee shop.

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