I’m wallowing in the past. Things I’ve seen and done before seem so much better than the experiences of today. A sign of aging.
After finishing my last exam, I rush downtown to catch a French movie. An antithesis to the drab suburban university campus that’s my home during the academic year. “A Simple Story” (1980) is true to its title. Not too much happens, except everyday life. Romy Schneider plays Marie, who is on the verge of turning 40. She works, banters with her teenage son, gets together with her friends. Divorced, with a cordial relationship with her former husband and a exasperating one with her never-do-well lover, she moves into the maturity of middle age. Somehow instead of closing possibilities and doors, the movie shows Marie’s ability to be open to change and renewal as she leaves her youth behind. Romy Schneider’s performance is so natural and calm that you almost forget her beauty.
Marie’s husband is played by Bruno Cremer. A little beefy, but engaging nonetheless, his charm and warmth makes it easy to see why Marie is still attracted to him. 20 years later he plays another husband who continues to be loved even as he disappears from another Marie’s life (“Under the Sand”).
I decided to see “Upstream Color” in defiance of my idea that old films are better than new ones. I picked the wrong movie. The person in the ticket booth said that if you can make it through the first 20 minutes of the movie, you will love the rest. I didn’t make it through the first 20 minutes. Too stream-of-consciousness for me. Flat delivery of lines, science fiction with a pig motif. I missed the visceral sense of beauty and sensation the critics wrote about. Maybe this is the whole point of the art form: that each viewer brings her or his sensibility to interpreting the piece, embracing or rejecting it.
The Comic Arts Festival recaptured my interest in discovering new things. It transformed the reference library into a place where all kinds of people intersect, connected by the diverse ways that comic art pops into our lives. We searched for the guy who draws “Questionable Content”. I bought a graphic novel called “The Property”, about a trip back to Warsaw, trying to recover the past. There was a buzz of excitement at the festival, a cool acceptance of the inner weirdness that comic aficionados and artists have.
I digress. I’ve been thinking about “Justify”. Apparently there is a new TV series called “Rectify”, also highly rated. Interesting titles. All about fixing things, setting them right.