Ventuss xLog

走马敕勒川 | TG: @Ventuss_OvO

La La Land: The God of Wine and the God of the Sun


In the winter vacation of 2017, I participated in a study tour group to the United States, starting from LA, then went to SF, Chicago, and finally arrived in NY. It happened to be Valentine's Day that day, and La La Land was showing in theaters. My girlfriend at the time and I spent half a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the afternoon, feeling cold and tired, we found a movie theater to rest. At that time, I only thought it was an ordinary musical film, and even fell asleep for a while in the middle.

I have read some explanations about La La Land in the meantime, and I gradually became a nostalgic person, a very nostalgic person.

On the last day of 2023, I rushed back to Beijing from Chongli and found the only theater still showing the movie on the east side, which led to this article.

La La Land is not a love story, it is a story about responsibility, courage, growth, and dreams.


Seb's theme is responsibility.


In the movie, Seb is a poor struggling artist who can't afford his water and electricity bills, refuses his family's care and help, and is unreliable at work. He gets fired by the restaurant manager, but he is still "obsessed" with jazz music, specifically the most classical jazz.


There are many details in the movie that establish Seb's image, such as the car he drives, a 1982 Buick Riviera, and the time background of the movie is probably 2014/15. It is very uneconomical to drive a car from the 1980s in modern times, both in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance costs. However, he insists on doing so because it gives him a sense of nostalgia - I am a nostalgic person, I miss that distant and beautiful era; I was fired because the restaurant manager doesn't understand jazz; I am not living in poverty, I am sacrificing myself.

In the end of the movie, Seb finally opens his own jazz bar, a happy ending. However, this ending seems to have a sense of mechanical deus ex machina: Seb's money to open the bar is accumulated through joining the legendary brother's band tour, and joining the band itself is a very random event - Seb happens to have a good friend who appreciates his talent and understands his stubbornness, and Seb also happens to realize during this period that he needs to take on some responsibility because of being in love, so he chooses to join the band, and he also happens to be dumped, so he saves enough money to open the bar. There are too many coincidences in this process.

When we look at it from the perspective of responsibility, we will find that Seb only briefly stepped out of his comfort zone, took on social responsibility for a period of time, and then went back and used the profits from this period to create a more lasting comfort zone for himself. He is still avoiding.

joined-screenshot (2)

Does he really love jazz music? The legendary brother in the movie makes it very clear: jazz music was avant-garde, rebellious, and subversive when it was born. And what Seb pursues is authentic jazz music, isn't this going against the spirit of jazz?


After the movie, I discussed it with Xiaohong. She happened to be writing a special article about short dramas in mini-programs (very exciting) and she felt that Mia was very similar to the "struggling" actors she interviewed in Hengdian. However, after careful consideration, I found that things were not like that.


In the movie, Mia is a talented student with a law degree. If she didn't become an actress, she could still become a lawyer. Moreover, her aunt is a famous actress and often takes Mia to act and play together. Mia actually grew up in a family of performers and was influenced by it from an early age. She is also in the best place in the world to make movies, Hollywood! So Mia's fate is completely different from those struggling actors.


The fact is, Mia is outstanding in ability, but lacks confidence. At first, Mia had no idea how to use her strengths - she could write scripts herself; and every time she encountered difficulties, she always wanted to give up immediately. The brilliance of the movie lies in the fact that every key decision is made with Seb's support, pushing Mia forward - it was him who told Mia that she should not play other people's roles but should write her own script and create her own character; it was him who drove to Mia's doorstep for the last time, honking the horn to summon Mia out.

Mia didn't know her unique advantage, didn't know she had a hidden blade.

Mia's theme is courage.

Dionysian and Apollonian#

Nietzsche used "Dionysian and Apollonian" as a pair of opposing spiritual paradigms: Dionysian is passionate, breaking free, and irrational; Apollonian is classical, restrained, and rational.

In Plato's "Symposium," he wrote about how primitive humans had two faces, two sets of mouths and noses, four hands and four feet, and were incredibly strong, even attempting to collide with and overthrow the gods. So Zeus decided to split each person in half from the middle, and since then, everyone has been searching for their other half that they were originally separated from. The only desire of those who find their other half is to be united with them forever, which is the ultimate goal of love.


Mia and Seb are opposing and complementary. Mia is actually very capable, but lacks confidence; Seb is talented, but avoids responsibility. Seb takes on more social responsibility for Mia's sake and finally opens his ideal jazz bar; while every time Mia wants to give up, it is Seb who pushes her forward, builds her confidence, and encourages her to move forward.

From the perspective of love, this story is undoubtedly a tragedy because they don't end up together. From their individual perspectives, it is not a tragedy because they both grow and ultimately achieve their initial dreams. In the 7-minute montage at the end of the movie, Mia and Seb spend their lives together, which also compensates for regrets.

I love the moment when they look back at each other at the end of the movie, that's enough.

joined-screenshot (1)


At the end of 2016, I was in my senior year of college, and my post-graduation plans were already confirmed. I had enough credits, but I felt extremely "lost." I remember that winter was very cold, and I watched Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" many times; I listened to Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" on repeat. Deep down, I didn't like the job that was "far ahead" and didn't want to be that "sunshine person."

That trip to the United States was a very important experience for me. The West Coast is always sunny, and technology is always advancing. Mountain View is planning to launch high-altitude hot air balloons to connect children from Amazon tribes to the internet. Children always have dreams.

7 years have passed, and everyone seems to have become more conservative. Seb and others just want to stay in the retro amusement park they have created for themselves. Do Mia and others still have the courage to continue dreaming?

Well, I don't know.

But I know that the best way to reach the future is to start building it.


And here's to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that break
Here's to the mess we make

2024/01/13 @Shanghai

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