Thursday, October 24, 2013
As I age I am acutely aware of death. I hate that word DEATH. It is so final. According to spiritualists as well as many religious teachings, death is not final. There is the other side - the afterlife. I love believing in the afterlife. I am in love with the idea. Yet, I ask myself, what is it I really believe?
I watched a movie two days ago that has thrown me into this age old quandary. It was a beautifully sad movie about true love entitled "Amour". It depicts an old couple in their final days. A long married very accomplished duo with so much to live for. No, that's not right. I should say so much to remember - so much to cherish - but already lived. They now have each other, bad health surrounded by the things - many things that must mean so much to them. But in the end aren't they just things? What seems to matter is the present. How to deal with two strokes, bad nurses, inability to talk, walk and bathe without help. These once strong vibrant people are also dealing with peculiar signs at their door - scratches and marks left by what seems to be a screwdriver - an attempt to break into their home - this home with so much history. To end a wonderful life in such an unwonderful way is the tragedy and so damn unfair.
This film devastated me as much as a movie can. Of course it isn't true devastation. It is simply my response to a great film. It is a great film but I will not see it again. Movies, books, theater are there to entertain, teach sometimes and illuminate our lives. "Amour" made me look at what I know but mostly what I don't know - and that is scary. And that is why I cannot view this masterpiece again. I don't want to think about it - any of it.
In "Hannah and Her Sisters" Woody Allen plays a man searching for the meaning of life - actually more so the meaning of death. He is so disturbed in his search that he tries out all the religions known to man for answers. It, of course, is comic, but ultimately not. Finally he realizes that no answers are forthcoming. He is deeply frustrated and goes to his father for words of wisdom. He asks his dad why must we die - where do we go - is there life after death - what are the truths? His dad answers, "Why worry - there's nothing you can do about it - so relax - live - forget about it and just live. What will happen will happen." This releases Woody and as the film winds down, our hero finds a happy way to live without the burden of his personal doomsday fears.
I recall after seeing "Hannah" a great feeling of relief because I, like Woody, lived with the constant search for life's answers. This feeling of relief did not last. And, now, thanks to "Amour" I am a ball of worry and doubt.
So much for art illuminating life. Maybe I should stick with "I Love Lucy".