Last night we watched the first half of Gone With the Wind. The film began at 10:00 pm taking us up to the intermission around 11:30 pm. Whatever misgivings I have about the story it remains an amazing achievement.
What must this have been like to encounter this film on a big screen back in 1939, as the world was beginning another world war?
I had the deepest sleep rich with dreams. Perhaps it’s the luxury of knowing I’ve got a couple of days off (I have been working, sometimes in the office, mostly teleworking), knowing we aren’t facing a civil war, that we have a place to ride this out. Watching someone else’s troubles for awhile is a distraction from what’s happening in our world. For a little while we forgot all about the present.
This morning we put on the second part of the film. The focus shifts from war to romance & disappointment.
The funniest thing happened, recollecting what we saw last night and especially watching the conclusion today. I suspect this works best with the films & plays & operas that we know so well that we can recite every line.
There are people screaming & running afraid of disaster. We cling to one another, glad we have a place to hide.
There’s a man screaming about getting his leg cut off without anesthetic. But we remember we have hospitals and anesthetics.
There’s a family starving, barely able to survive. We appreciate coffee & breakfast.
There’s miscommunication through misguided ego, failing to tell someone you love them. We won’t miss our chances to appreciate one another.
Everyone is different of course, each with our own perspective. But the current pandemic is a new lens through which we can view everything we think we know. You notice new things or see the old in new ways. It’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate, to be grateful, to find strength & resilience. I am especially in awe of films from long ago that can still illuminate our experience decades later.
The film or play or opera that you thought of one way can become brand new, seen in a new light & a different framework. Everything is new when your assumptions change.
I suggest you pull out movies or operas you’ve seen before, and watch them through the lens of your current predicament, whatever it may be.
Tomorrow is another day.