The Lost City of Z
I'm wondering why it's hard to say what happened, or how it moved me. Because in the latter case, it didn't? The Lost City of Z ticks the boxes for those looking for an Edwardian-era true adventure, with explorations by historical figure Percy Fawcett into the Amazon jungle. Was it the relative absence of wildlife in the film that left me feeling nonplussed? We see a wild pig at one point, and a black panther at another, just briefly. The explorers in the film refer to their surroundings as the Green Desert and perhaps this was the point, a place of constant water where everyone looks dehydrated, a place of foliage and surely a million animals or more that are always just beyond you. A place of frustration that never does what you want it to, and most significantly of all, refuses to yield the hidden secrets you're looking for.
The main explorer, Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, might have found it at the end; the conclusion is open-ended but we can guess what happened after they disappear and it's really nothing to celebrate.
Sobering questions, in fact, do emerge post-viewing: exploration is exhausting, anti-climactic. It drains the explorers with its demands, but so too the friends and family who never see you. It becomes an obsession, perhaps because it never can match your dreams. Where have we seen this before? As a transwoman, yes, of course. As anyone, who's ever dreamed of anything, and come face to face with that they wanted? Our desires, as soon as they find form in our external world, as soon as they become a socially affected desire, are by definition artificial, and can never be whatever it is our unconscious longing wanted. We are always set up for disappointment.
Perhaps this is too bleak a message to mull over, but maybe the more we strive for magic, the more the magic disappears. And yet the tragedy is there's no alternative. We imagine something magical, and if we're brave enough, there really is no alternative: we go to an end somewhere between disappointment and death. C'est la vie.