Tuesday, January 4, 2011

July 11, 1970

Not yet pregnant with me (It is hard to avoid measuring my mother's journals with my personal timeline), my mother was at a party in Brussels and had an odd experience, as if she were watching a movie:

"It reminded me how little the experience of watching movies jibes with the realty one lives in—watching Women in Love I could empathize with almost all of the four characters in turn, and I particularly remember a beautiful scene in which Birkin (Bates) and Ursula (Jenny Linden) run towards each other, naked, through forest and ferns, but with the camera turned sideways, so that she was running upwards and he downwards, giving the whole scene a powerful symbolism. Now I was there with them, also running through the ferns; but were I in fact running towards a man like that, it would in no way resemble the sensation of watching two others run together and imagining that it were I. Very subtle difference. And I often have wondered why thus and such a situation (a picnic, a ride on a bicycle, standing on a bridge and watching the water) does not have the power of an identical situation on celluloid. The answer is not that celluloid glamorizes, distorts, romanticizes, for I find real water as enchanting as water on a film; it is that, with a movie, one it watching and taking part vicariously in a perfect situation, with one’s whole concentration; with real life, one is actually part of the action and cannot step back and see the whole as a third, disinterested person. But last night I did feel I was watching a movie. Watching these people move about, and I don’t mean playing parts or acting. The parallel comes from my own lack of real involvement. R. made her entry, and it was as if I were watching her on cinemascope."

A few thoughts:
1) Is "Women in Love" (which I have never seen) the origin or just an example of the running-toward-each-other-through-the-grass cliche?
2) This reminds me of my own how movies/stories relate to real life: How I expect each situation to have a solution (good or bad), and I look at life as a story, with "perfect" constructions, "fated" (may be the wrong word) choices. It is hard not to, right? But there is not always a solution, and I don't necessarily believe in fate and tend to support the idea of free will, which does not fit the idea of a set, "perfect," movie-like story.

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