Consider for a moment why you spend time and often money watching movies? I don’t want the public answer: The one that makes you sound interesting or intelligent. I don’t expect an answer in the comment box, because I want the truth, regardless of how vulnerable it makes you.
Shadows in the Sun, a small film set in rural Italy, examines motivation through the eyes of a lionized writer who has written nothing in 20 years, and a young editor sent to convince the writer to return to his desk. His trio of daughters represent the varying degrees of feminine power. The village priest, played by Giancarlo Giannini, represents the other worldliness of the creative process. Less talk more faith.
Harvey Keitel, is the writer. His performance is poignant and restrained, although the tough old scribe he plays is not. Joshua Jackson, Dawson’s Creek’s Pacey (The one who got Dawson’s girl.) portrays the editor who wants to be a writer. This is a fish out of water…or at least a salmon swimming upstream story. The confused and emotionally repressed men heal each other through the power of the word.
I chose the film, about which I knew nothing, because it was photographed on location in one of the most romantic countries on the planet . The same motivation for watching Under the Tuscan Sun or Kenneth Branagh’s ode to Shakespeare’s Italy.
The al fresco dining, the quaint cafe and the ancient inn with the paper thin walls…they are the Italy for which I long. Film takes me there…and other places currently out of the question.
Tragedy has been the theme this week. An inevitability when writing about Robert Falcon Scott‘s expedition to the South Pole, the centenary of which we will mark on January 17, 2012. I had planned to write something lighter today as much for my mental health as anything else. But I awoke to read that a cruise ship ran aground in Italy, with a loss of eight lives. Tragedy continues to be the theme this week.
Travel is not without risk. Travel has never been risk free. The consequences of risk, however, happen to someone else. If we didn’t believe that we would not travel, and there would be no travel industry.
In my circle of acquaintances there are many for whom travel must include risk. They choose the risky route, the dodgy destination, the adrenaline inducing activity. Most travelers choose the option with the least risk – the perception of smallest risk. May they continue to be deluded.
When I am faced with the uncomfortable, I turn to poetry. Today was no exception. Walt Whitman comforted me, as I mourned the loss of lives in Italy. He comforted and surprised me. As I thumbed through Leaves of Grass, I came across a poem he wrote about a Greely expedition: Of That Blithe Throat of Thine.
Whitman wrote of his inspiration: “(More than eighty-three degrees north – about a good day’s steaming distance to the Pole by one of our fast oceaners in clear water-Greely the explorer heard the song of a single snow-bird merrily sounding over the desolation.)”
I am familiar with polar prose. Polar poetry is a new concept. One I will pursue for the next three days: My tribute to those who risked all and lost.