Sunday, March 26, 2006

Brief Encouters of the Third Kind

I simply could NOT
get anything going today. Something about Sunday, I suppose -- it's as if you rest whether you want to or not. It narcotizes you despite your best wishes. I planned on going to a movie, lost interest, went to the library, where a woman crashed into the plate glass window on the Hampton Street side. Naturally, I took pictures -- which, when you get right down to it, is no more ghoulish than merely looking. Everyone is a voyeur. I'd send the photos so you can let your inner voyeur out as well, but the phone isn't cooperating.

Anyway, I picked up some poetry by Yeats and Wordsworth and Donne and went to Mom's. A delightful movie came on, Brief Encounter with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. A gorgeous romance, which I believe I addressed earlier, sometime last year. An unhappily married woman meets an unhappily married doctor in 1945 England; they have an emotional affair that comes just shy of consummation -- and that's it, and it's more than enough. If you made that movie today people would say it lacked story, but it was more than enough story, because it went so deep into the woman's mind, her sense of guilt, her loneliness, her desires, her fears of being found out. It was focused so strictly on her that the movie is a bit of a psychological journey, you might say -- and the sense of it being a journey is certainly a visual theme, given the fact that the couple meet regularly at the train depot, and you have all these gorgeous shots of the trains arriving and departing, their gorgeous plumes of smoke billowing past. It's like a dream of a movie. David Lean directed -- a maker of notoriously big films who cut his teeth on small and intimate literary adaptations. He loved stories; size didn't matter.

On the way home I listened to The White Album, which someone recently copied for me. I've heard it a bazillion times, like everyone, but it had been awhile since I'd listened at any length. Hearing it reminded me of what Martin Scorsese said about Citizen Kane, that it showed young filmmakers the power of ambition. well, I suspect that's what this one did for a lot of bands, established a template for big, huge gallumphing masterpiece -- although the Beatles, too, were influenced by another double-LP, I feel certain: Blonde on Blonde. That record demonstrated to them the power of ambition, and they in turn demonstrated it further, and both records are still demonstrating it to everyone, every day, somewhere.

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