Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lazy Weekend

Not much to report this weekend. We had invites to three fabulous Halloween parties Saturday and went to none of them. Instead we witnessed the paper lantern parade at Patterson Park, which was actually really cool with its pagan overtones and mysterious glowing effigies snaking through the trees. I was quite surprised at the amount of money and restoration apparent in that part of town, which was rather grim as recently as a couple years back. The pagoda was well-lit and fixed up, the fountains were lit and functioning and clean, most of the surrounding townhomes have been restored and are selling for ridiculous sums. An interesting evening. Why didn't we go party? There was actually no consensus. Cha wanted to party, but I didn't--the entire point of not having a Halloween shindig this year was to get back my favorite holiday; I like reading scary stories and watching horror films and visiting isolated graveyards. After hosting 8 big parties the last 8 years, and after a week of brutal attic work, I was ready to take a break.

Yes, I'm all the things she called me: curmudgeon, hermit, party-pooper. But she slept 14 hours Friday night, took a three-hour nap Saturday afternoon, and fell asleep at 10pm Saturday after saying she was ready to boogie. I stayed up and watched Bergman:

Through a Glass Darkly is thematically similar to Cocteau's Blood of a Poet; artists can be true amoral bastards who sacrifice loved ones to their craft. I think Bergman would agree with Cocteau that such painful excavations not only result in better art, but that they are the duty of an artist, who must be willing to expose not only her/his own most painful and reprehensible facets, but also those of close compatriots. Otherwise, Truth and Beauty will remain false ideals.

Bergman demonstrates the sleazy opportunistism of a shallow artistic practitioner (Gunnar Björnstrand). David mines his family's closet skeletons which provide key material for his successful novels, but he refuses to focus on his own problems in the public eye. Suicidal and distraught at his moral failings, David gets caught planning a book about his daughter's incurable madness with horrid and shameful consequences for all concerned. Harriet Anderson, who plays the schizophrenic Karin, is masterful.

Through a Glass Darkly is short, sparse, and deeply troubling. Part of Bergman's "Trilogy of Faith," there is only a tepid discussion of God and spirituality near the end that mirrors the shallow artistic endeavors of the father. But Karin's hallucinations involve preparations for the physical revelation of God, and the culmination of these episodes is monstrous. I can't wait for the others in the trilogy, but fear if I keep watching Bergman's stuff I'm going to end up needing the University counseling center's help.

K'wali and Klezma dropped by Friday and we watched this. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. It's shite of the highest odiferousness. Much better despite the low budget and dated effects is the original BBC TV production:

The best thing about the movie version are the cameos by castmembers from the BBC teleplay, including Simon Jones (the original Arthur Dent) and the great old-school plastic Marvin the robot.