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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Some Movies Stay with You...


About thirty years ago, I watched and re-watched the The Elephant Man. (At the time of this writing, the movie is on Youtube at this link.) If you have never seen it, please do... not because it is pleasant entertainment but because it is one of the most compelling depictions of the full spectrum of the human condition ever put on film.

Throughout the 1980's, I showed The Elephant Man to my drama classes as an example of pathos and character. It was the first time I had ever seen Anthony Hopkins who plays Dr. Frederick Treves whose medical curiosity turns first to compassion and then to to genuine kindnessSo agonizing is the title character John Merrick's struggle in this world that the audience takes comfort with him in the final moments when he lies down to sleep, knowing he cannot breath in that position, but wanting so much to be at rest like the boy in the picture on the wall.

The score of the final scene in the film is the haunting solace of Barber's Adagio for Strings.

As a musical direction, the Latin word adagio simply means "slowly and gracefully."  In ballet, however, adagio typically refers to a section in which the ballerina and her male partner perform extended and demanding steps, lifts, and turns as if in slow motion.. For those watching the ballet, adagio looks effortless, but it requires greater balance, strength, and skill than the same actions performed in normal time.

On the evening of the film's final scene, John Merrick had just been to the ballet for the first and only time of his life. He completes a model of a cathedral he has made from scraps of cardboard and says, "It's finished."


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