Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Beautiful Bergman

My art history background was put to good use. And by "good use", I mean, "impress the teacher" because I'm a brownie points whore, that's who I am. (Journalist schmournalist, I entered high school with dreams of being professionally out of work.) In film class today, we watched Seven Beauties by Lina Wertmuller. Opinions were a bit divided which made for an interesting discussion. The film is really rich in complexities, full of contradictory themes, so it was hard to resist showing off a little to the teacher when class was dismissed:

"It's funny that you mention the German commander as a mother figure because the painting [by Bronzino] in that scene is of Cupid fondling Aphrodite, who is his mother."

Shameless! Absolutely shameless! But boy, was he excited when he heard that -- the symbolic parallels were there all along! His suspicions were validated!

My professor is, without a doubt, the single most jolly Frenchman I have ever met. (HaiPhia: "And that's saying a lot.") He has these soft bags around his eyes, a gray mass of cotton candy hair, and a perpetual smile that deepens the wrinkles on his face. Jeans, sneakers, and a turtleneck. He pronounces English words as if they were French: deve-LOPE-ment, car-I-ca-ture, GRO-tesque, BUR-lesque, always em-PHA-sing the wrong sy-LLA-bles. And then there are the times when he sings to the soundtrack when we watch the clips for analysis, like that day we screened Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon and he tried to imitate the barmaid.

I'd like to be that someday. Just a cheerful middle-aged woman who watches movies for a living. And not like Scorsese back in the day when he was all drugged up and closed off all the light to his living room to do what I do either. (Yes, it did happen. No, you may not google it.) But a spendthrift spinster who gets her kicks seeing celluloid unwind. Sure, that may sound like the dream of a loser to you (like that guy on the Price Is Right who has infinite faith in saying "one dollar"), but it's a dream only a loser can conceive.

And I am, undoubtedly, the biggest one ... on the block ... this month. I don't even have change to do my laundry! Or enough to donate in exchange for some free "pass the salt" vegan food. And calling someone's romantic opinion of Cary Grant in Notorious "bullshit" isn't going to endear me to anyone from that cliquey communications program. (Although, the professor did say I was headed for an A+ for saying it and the class did thoroughly enjoy my flagrant Tourettesism, I think I left that room giving everyone the impression that I have man issues. Which I do! But they're supposed to find that out after they get to know me and run to the nearest support group.)

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