“There is just something moving about a scene shot in a tunnel. A car moving through one.” The man at podium paused for dramatic effect. “Is it as simple as the fact that they have a beginning and an end? Or is it something else?”
Another pause. The small crowd at the promotional press junket expected nothing less. The man was an actor. Being dramatic came with the territory.
“Maybe subconsciously the audience is marveling at our ingenuity. ‘Our’ meaning humanity’s. Our ability to drive right through a mountain or under a river.”
The man at the podium had never been in a scene that required him to drive earnestly through a tunnel. It was on his acting bucket list. He’d settle for driving pensively.
A hand shot up in the audience. He gestured to a woman, no doubt an Entertainment reporter at some regional magazine or other, in the same way a teacher might do to a pupil in a classroom. “Freud might say that a tunnel has sexual connotations” she said and a small titter ran through the crowd. The actor smiled. He loved a good titter.
“He might indeed. A tunnel of love.” He laughed. “Some might say he had tunnel vision on that particular topic.”
A bigger titter. The man seemed very pleased with himself.
“Another might imagine prisoners digging an escape tunnel. Either way, I think we can all think of a few movies off the top of our heads where a character going through a tunnel is poignant. Be it the prolonged scene at the beginning of The American or a two second snippet at the end of Lost in Translation… it sets a mood. Creates a certain tension.”
He wasn’t famous by any stretch of the imagination. He was recognizable to most moviegoers, but they would have trouble putting a finger on exactly which movie he was in or which part he played. They just knew they knew him, just not exactly from what. This film was his first where his name appeared in the opening credits.
He was an everyman.
The woman who’d made the earlier reference to Freud once again raised her hand. The man at the podium got the feeling that while she didn’t appear the type to sleep with just any man, she just might be into everymen. He was about to call on her again when the moderator of the event, with a small cough, interrupted.
“Let’s return to the original question shall we?”
“Of course. What was the original question?” asked the actor.
“The movie is called Ton’neru. Japanese for tunnel. Why?”
“Well… funny story. There are, as you know, actually no tunnels, or even roads, in the film. The plot involves moving a lot black-market diamonds from around the globe through a very small port city. It was supposed to be called Funnel. But someone put the word tunnel in the Google translator instead of funnel.”
The audience looked skeptical.
“I swear. It’s a shame really, Jōgo is a much cooler name.”
“Maybe for the sequel!” someone at the back of the room shouted.
“That would be the light at the end of the funnel” the actor added with a wink. “Seriously though, I’d like to end this get-together with a quote from Colum McCann; The tunnels of our lives connect, coming to daylight at the oddest moments, and then plunge us into the dark again. We return to the lives of those who have gone before us, a perplexing Möbius strip until we come home, eventually, to ourselves.” He gave a small wave and departed.
The moderator let out a small groan, concealing a much louder existential groan within her regarding her career choices.
The Entertainment reporter at some regional magazine or other just about melted in her chair.
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