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Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.

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movies

give me leave to do my utmost

“I am going away forever – and I shall never, never see you again. For I have learned here that life is hard and cruel and that in this world there are things that are – impossible.” — Lt. Lorens Lowenhielm, from the short story and film, Babbette’s Feast, by Isak Dinesen.

“And, I shall be with you every day that is left to me. Every evening I shall sit down, if not in flesh, which means nothing, in spirit, which is all, to dine with you, just like tonight. For tonight I have learned that in this world anything is possible.” — General Lorens Lowenhielm Dinesen, from the short story and film, Babette’s Feast, by Isak Dinesen.

I’m not a fan of subtitled movies. I have a hard enough time following stories without trying to read the subtitles instead of watching the scene. Babette’s Feast is a 1987 Danish film (and a short story by Isak Dinesen) about two sisters who live in a small village in Denmark. It’s without dramatic action, crazy plot twists, or wildly eccentric characters. It’s subtitled for English speakers.

And it’s terrific.

The quotes above are from the same character, the first when he was young and impetuous. The second when he was older and wiser.

And then there’s Babette, a secondary character without whom there would be no story. Her motives are pure.

“Through all the world there goes on long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost.”

If you can find it, give it a chance. You won’t be sorry.

serpico

one of my favorite movies of all time.

al pacino, as good as he’s ever been, as the gritty honest cop, frank serpico. based on the true story of the real frank serpico.

forty years later, i watched it again. it wasn’t as good.

ever hear of chauncey gardner? peter sellers as the title character in Being There. another one of my all-time favorites. but upon further review…

not quite.

seems what i remember is not what i remember.

books are the same way. the fountainhead, ayn rand’s masterpiece, with the iconic howard roark. it’s a great book, but after a few years away, it’s no longer at the top of my list.

is it me? have my sensibilities changed?

of course. and then again, my good memories tend to dominate the bad.

but i’m thinking i’m going to keep the good memories warm. no more bursting the bubble of what i remember. same with people. i remember old friends fondly, forgetting their faults and the things that drove me crazy. then when i see them on the street, it’s a good moment.

i hope they do the same for me.

Heather Girl

When my novel Heather Girl is made into a major motion picture starring Amy Adams, this is the song that will play as the opening credits roll and Heather walks down the street to the coffee shop, the wind whipping through her hair. Credit to my cousin, Joe Clatworthy, who wrote the song and recorded it as a member of the group The Muffetts, though they were also known as The Mojos.

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