Monday, May 10, 2010

The Last Station...

Ok – Update time my little chickadees! (Thank you for the tiny nag Catherine).And what an extraordinary week it's been: Thursday night I went with a friend of the angel variety to see THE LAST STATION with Christopher Plummer as a near to death Leo Tolstoy (yes he of WAR & PEACE fame etc) and Helen Mirren (does she ever stop working?) as his caught in a dilemma countess wife. It was a harrowing few hours but extraordinary from a social insight perspective on a couple of counts: 1. The stupidity of the male of the species to attempt to overcome existential anxiety by trying to box and categorise everything and thinking that structure will protect them from uncertainty and death. So in this instance the reductionism of Tolstoy's adherents to the letter of his ideals for the rejection of personal property and gender equality and class equality renders it into an absurdist exercise always at odds with very human drives (hello Freud) as experienced through the eyes (and other organs) of Tolstoy's new male secretary and his attraction to one of the female communards and 2. The need for the Countess (Tolstoy's wife) to be assured that her children will be assured of a home at the end of their parent's days and that she will be allowed some simple time with husband as a man as opposed to a cultural hero. Staggering in it's historical accuracy – the settings are all the actual settings of the story and the actual archival footage over the end credits gives the clue to how pedantically these scenes have all been staged. The angel noted the habit of the time of setting up tables and other furniture in the outdoors to take advantage of beautiful natural settings was both quaint picturesque. Harrowing in its human dilemmas it reminds us that the gender and class dilemmas are still essentially with us (a little embarrassing given the other advances in the last century or so) and that men and now sometimes women are still babyishly dependent on the myth that structure and protocols will protect us from everything sometimes dirty, complex gritty and real.

Friday : One thousand words on the little novel. A penance and a necessity!

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