Comme toujours, la version française de l’article sous « lire la suite » !
After this interruption due to my ramblings, back to what we’re interested in – or at least what interests me – : Mr A’s kiss scenes.
The second scene to pass under my searching eye is the first kiss between Maya and John
Lucas. This is the real deal, we are far from the pious and chaste kiss exchanged between Guy and Meg ! Like in my first analysis, opinions developped here are mine, it’s the perception I have of the scene and not the ultimate and absolute truth of the latter. You might not share my point of view, and that’s great ! Feel free to comment, I love to discuss 😉
What interests me above all is their body language and love parade before kissing, especially Maya’s, because it’s the only time I felt connected to this character. They’re standing at opposite ends of the room, him near the door, she near the bay window. She doesn’t remove her coat once she’s in, she doesn’t intend to stay. Not avoiding his gaze, Maya struggles to hold it, even when she tries to unravel his lies. Despite her desire to confront John, staring at him intensely, she always look away after a few seconds because she can’t stand it. I think she knows that at any moment she might succumb, somehow, she has already « lost » the battle by agreeing to come, and moreover at home (not a public place but an intimate one although impersonal in the case of a spy). Obviously, her arms are folded across her chest, a classic. But beyond the fact that Maya stands back and is shut, I think she’s mostly on the reserve, trying to protect herself from being hurt again. She wants to believe in John, to be convinced by what he says, otherwise she would not be there. If Maya keeps her distance and keeps her arms firmly crossed it’s because she’s also protecting herself from her own weaknesses. I see her behaviour as way to give herself courage and above all to avoid any temptation : stay away from John, do not touch him, do not look at him for too long, as if his proximity was intoxicating and therefore irresistible ;). There’s probably an element of pride in her attitude as well, wounded pride by the lies of the man she loved.
As for John (you can’t imagine how hard it is for me to write John instead of Lucas …..), he doesn’t move. He’s wrong, so he lets her come to him, the choice is not his, it’s hers. He’s not in control of the situation, he hopes for reconciliation but in disbelief. From the moment Maya starts to « weaken », she gets closer to him. Very close indeed, closer than in a casual conversation, with only a few inches between them. She still keeps her arms crossed though, still protecting herself both from him and herself. While Maya’s gaze continues to shift from John’s, he never stops staring at her. At no time until he closes his eyes when he kisses her. If I remember correctly, the only times he avoids her eyes are when he lies shamelessly. The opposite of what we saw between Guy and Meg. John wants Maya, he loves her, devouring her with his overwhelming gaze. Because he doesn’t want to seem threatening, he stands slightly hunched, he is vulnerable, at the mercy of the woman he loves, and especially of her decision. Despite their different heights, their eyes are almost at the same level.
When she completely stops to look at him , her eyes downcast, he leans gently towards her, seeking her gaze, trying to convince her to trust him. I think he feels he has an opening, that she’s about to yield. Thus, his words are softer, he talks to her in an intimate whisper barely audible. Every time I hear him utter those words, I shudder. If John asks Maya to close her eyes, beyond the simple fact to remember, above all he asks her to trust him. To close one’s eyes is putting oneself in a weak position, it’s being at somebody’s mercy, it’s offering oneself to someone. And she agrees. Not without a last attempt to fend him off. From the moment her eyelids are closed, she recoiled, her body doesn’t move but she puts her head as far as possible from his.
Although he somehow « won », John keeps his distance. He’s hesitant. I have long believed that it was he who approached her, but while rewatching the scene several times – what torture ! – I realized that it wasn’t the case. Yes, it’s he who makes the first step, it’s he who kisses her. But Maya has an ambiguous attitude. Indeed, she initially recoiled when she closes her eyes. But after John has got slightly nearer to her, she moves her face to meet his, stopping just a few inches from him. It’s clearly shown on the screenshots below. When you’re this close to someone, you feel it. You feel the warmth of her/his body next to yours, you feel his/her breath against your face, you’re acutely aware of this proximity. Maya knew this would happen, she tried to resist, but she yielded. But she’s not active, she lets John chooses for her by a tacit agreement, too torn between her conflicted feelings.
Again I stress the importance of John’s gaze during this scene. Even when Maya closes her eyes, he’s constantly staring at her, fixing her eyelids. When she moves towards him, his gaze drifts to her lips, the universal code for a) I badly want to kiss you or b) you have a piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth. I vote for the first proposition in this case ! And while the tip of his nose gently caresses hers, he looks at her one last time before closing his eyes, overwhelmed by his feelings.
What I especially like in this kiss is that it’s in two stages. The first act is extremely soft and slow while in restraint, their lips barely moving. John kisses Maya, not vice versa. It’s a kiss of two former lovers who rediscover each other, getting to know each other once again. Then sensuality takes over the kiss. Lust kicks in, they need to be closest to the loved one, to merge, to feel at one. John straightens up gradually in the first act, gaining confidence, dominating Maya and pressing his face against hers. The second act is passionate, fiery and sensual. Maya gets really active in their kiss, taking his head in her hands, clinging to him, disappearing into their embrace.
If I weren’t a hopeless romantic, that kiss would probably be my all time favourite because it’s the one in which I find myself the most. I love the fact that there’s this tension throughout the scene, a tension which is released only when they kiss (at last) before being replaced by another type of tension. I like this build-up, slow but inexorable, that fumbling and shy hesitation that turns into a turmoil of senses. I was this girl in a complicated relationship, loving as much as hating this man, refusing to yield because of my wounded pride, but who can’t resist him, swept by a sense of physical communion as well as a communion of mind. I’ve been kissed like that and I kissed like that. I was this girl behind a complicated relationship, loving a man and hating myself for what he was going through because of me, desperate to get him back but keeping him at bay to protect him, wanting him more than anything and overwhelmed by this single connection. When I see John and Maya kissing, I find myself in one AND the other. That’s why this kiss has such a distinctive place in my heart.