Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making Time for Movies

Hello world!  Recently a dear friend challenged me to upload a new blog post, even though I've sadly neglected this project for some months.  I've been a bit consumed by adapting to my new life as a graduate student--this includes very grown-up things like making my own meals and purchasing a vacuum cleaner.  Excuses, excuses. Some days are better than others, but overall I couldn't be happier in my new home, though I miss my undergraduate community very much.  I'm learning to be independent, productive, and--I hope, at least--writerly.  (Also, there's nothing better than New England in the fall.  Photographic evidence above.)

When I made my move at the end of the summer, I packed my movies into a paper box and knew they'd get me through whatever graduate school planned on throwing at me.  What I didn't realize is that I'd need to consciously find the time to watch them.  This weekend, I had a full plate of professional and academic assignments but somehow found the time and energy for both Out of Africa and The English Patient.  (I know, I really like to pick fun, feel-good movies for the end of the week.)  I've blogged about both of these films in earlier posts, but from the comfort of my $25 futon it was almost as if I was watching them for the first time .  And now, without further ado, a discussion that is really just an excuse for me to broadcast my love of Robert Redford and Ralph Fiennes.

Friday night Out of Africa.  I first watched this movie at the age of seventeen, and it's still pure magic for me on many levels.  Oh, Denys is so dreamy!  The landscape!  Karen's storytelling by the fire!  Gramophone on safari! Yellow airplane! But it's also very much a story about expectations in relationships and the hard realities of living an independent life. While it's obvious that Karen and Denys love each other, they can't necessarily coexist. Karen is a writer who's struggling to keep Denys as a character in her story, but he's weary of that commitment.  Maybe that's who Denys really is--he's that character in all of our imaginations who pops up in dozens of stories but can never really flesh out enough to become concrete.  You know the type?  No?  Okay.  You can go back to watching the hair washing scene.

Saturday nightThe English Patient.  Again, this one totally appeals to every romantic-sappy-*sigh* instinct in me.  Explorers discovering the ancient Cave of Swimmers.  Unresolved sexual tension in the middle of a desert sandstorm.  Also, non-linear storytelling.  And a yellow airplane! (Come to think of it, yellow airplanes might be a bad sign?)  Almasy and Katharine's story is far from simple--it's aggressive and controversial but undeniably passionate.  The characters are strange and unforgettable--this can be rare to come by in a love story, I think.  Also, here is your proof that Ralph Fiennes is much, much more than "Lord Voldemort."  I'd be happy to discuss this issue over coffee on any given day of the week, you pick the place.

Real homework assignments beckon, but I'm going to try and make these double features a part of my routine.  They're definitely better than dishes and laundry.  And hopefully, I'll make time for blogging, too.