Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Arranging Matches

Feeling much less suicidal today, no doubt due to generous applications of wellbutrin, prozac, and dexedrine.

Greta & I went to see The Go-Between last night & were ecstatic to find Mia there. After, we all went to Sherman's & drank wine.

Years ago, I bought the L. P. Hartley novel whence Pinter distilled his exquisite screenplay, but, true to form, never read it and now don't know where it is --a drag, because I'm itching curious to see if the novel is as consummately and delightfully Jamesian as the film now strikes me. Personally, I think Losey and Pinter construct a vastly more beautiful and breathtaking edifice than James's What Maisie Knew using much the same general blueprint and materials. (They sort of take Maisie and infuse it with the tragic magnificence of Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove.) Both narratives are centrally about the confusion of, and damage wrought on, a sexual innocent tossing in the wake of a passing erotic triangle of adults. But unlike Maisie, which if I remember right plays out partly in London and partly on the Continent, The Go-Between is set entirely on the property of a grand English country estate during the Edwardian period, the final minutes of the spectacular high tea of the British Empire, which lends the suppressed-passion microcosm a macrocosmic resonance. The film has a lot in common with The Hunting Party, The Remains of the Day, and Howards End (indeed, practically the entire oeuvre of Merchant Ivory), which Greta & I call Arranging-Matches Movies, after the routine where Eddie Izzard caricatures British Film:

[Drawing Room. Enter Nigel]
Nigel (subdued, hesitant, serious): What are you doing, Sebastian?
Sebastian (equally subdued, serious): I'm arranging matches.
Nigel: Oh.
Nigel: Then I guess I'd better go.
Sebastian: Yes. I think you better had.

I wanted to wax on for a while about the weird emotional power behind the stifling lack of emotional expression that's so characteristically British, but I won't. I have to pee and get up off this couch. (Not in that order, perhaps.)
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