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Broadway shows may come and go, but RENT is love. Forever.

29 April 2009

Physics revision can take a break. Time for a disorganised blather of thought about the only constant in my life.

Today, instead of studying, the first thing I did when I came home from school was watch Rent for the first time in more than a year (I lied on my Film blog). I guess that distance really does make us wise. Watching it over again for a more-than-hundredth time, I have never been so emotionally moved by that film. Watching it over again I realised how much Rent actually has changed my life and the way I view certain things. (It isn’t just the musical that “corrupted” me, okay.) Watching it over again, I was able to appreciate it at a level like never before.

I have never “teared up” when watching Rent. If there was a tear, there would be actual crying. Rent is the only film that has made me so open emotionally; I have never cried so much for a movie before, and today I cried more than ever. I cried during the first scene, even, while the 8-piece main cast sang “Seasons of Love” onstage in an empty theatre. It was probably the whole thought of watching this film again after such a long time that got me emotional; I used to watch Rent more than once a day in 2006. And during those scenes when I normally cried — “Without You”, “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”, “Goodbye Love”, “Finale B” — I cried more than I usually did. And by the time the last shot of Angel came up, my face was soaked and it took me a while to compose myself and hit the “Eject” button on my DVD player. If that doesn’t make Rent‘s effect on me crystal clear, I don’t know what else can.

So Rent is the Tony-winning, Pulitzer Prize-winning [former D:] Broadway musical-turned-2005-film about a year in the lives of bohemians living in New York City from 1989 to 1990. To state the film’s conflict would basically entail listing down every problem a person could possibly have at the time (as an East Village bohemian) and putting them all together. IMdB it, Wiki it, it’s worth watching to say the least.

And to say just how much it has moved me and affected me over the past three-ish years would take a while to actually articulate.

It’s probably safe for me to say that Rent just might be one of the few constants in my life, even though I have never seen the stage musical (and probably never will, since the show has been closed since September 2008). I have the massive black book on it, the DVD (I have the widescreen and the full screen 2-disc editions) and both soundtracks. In some ways, Rent has been my bible, but that doesn’t mean that I’m gonna go out and have sex and turn into an HIV-positive lesbian junkie.

For one, Rent made me value time more. The past three years have gone by faster than the others. It’s January, then it’s summer, then it’s Christmas all over again. The story of Rent showed me how much a year can affect the lives of people, how easily friendships and relationships can be made, lost and destroyed forever. Since Rent I’ve valued my friends a lot more than before. I guess that’s why I’m usually sadder most other people when I find out that a close friend is leaving, or at least when I know that I’m about to distance myself from a friend by at least a thousand miles.

Rent taught me to love more (though I have to work on that again), and not to let the troubles of life get the best of me (though they have at times recently). I realised that since the last time I saw Rent I haven’t been very good at upholding the lessons I supposedly learned from it. And now that I have watched it again, and burst into song again, and cried over it again, I will remember to keep those lessons in mind.

There’s only now. There’s only here. Give in to love or live in fear. No other path. No other way. No day but today. That’s the anthem of my life.

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