Friday, May 27, 2005

strung out on serious movies

*waring spoilers everywhere*

My Guy and I watched "Mystic River" last night. It was intense. I accept the logic of the way the tale unfolds and admire the beauty of the structure. This story has really good bones. The characters do what is in their nature and with the intersection of events and coincidences and confidences, I did not necessarily know what was going to happen and when I saw it, I did not want it to happen. I was not happy with the ending. But I understood the chain of events and motivations. I did not like it, but I could see it. And because I could see it I accepted it as a viewer. Strange, no? This understanding between the story and the audience.

I wonder if this is the experience of the ancient Greeks in the Ampitheater. All those citizens gathered together during the festival to honor some God or Goddess. The torches are lit and the chorus begins telling a story that is timely and relevant in its themes, challenging and questioning our point of view and our understanding of the world. The cartharsis and epiphany and all that jazz, which I sort of remember but only vaguely. What theater did was pick us up and walk us through a mental and emotional process together. Bringing us to the other side with a question or an answer or the start of a conversation.

Back to "Mystic River", for me the question is: when an evil thing happens do we carry it with us forever? Does it become so much a part of us as to take the living out of our lives? Like when Laurence Fishburne talks about how you carry jail time as tension in your shoulders and you carry the murder of your daughter in your stomach.

At heart, I am a sap. I know the logic of a story but I look for the way out. The way to turn it inside out and get a happy ending. In "The Piano" the logic of the story says that a woman who cannot conform to the demands of her society will be punished. And when she is sinking into the ocean weighed down by the piano you think that this is the end. This is tragedy. This is opera. This is how the story is told.

But the movie takes a turn thereafter and we see that she does not die, she lives with her metal finger, her lover, her child, and a new piano. It steps through the frame of opera into another room.

Life is bigger and stranger than any story you tell. Life has much more possiblity and maybe our stories should bend their logic to reflect this.

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