It Followed Me Home From The Clark

I went over to the Clark. My intention was to maybe climb the hill an sketch or paint but that didn’t happen. I went in, got banded (LOVE being a member! support your local art org!) and wandered around looking at paintings. Mostly favorites, but I did look at some of the Dutch genre pieces (very cool) and I looked at part of the Looking North and South exhibit which was mostly drawings and printed material. I saved that for another day because I ran out of time before the movie. Like any movie venue they run little announcements of upcoming events, remind you to look for the exits and not to eat in the auditorium etc. When the feature started though, it was so quiet that a good portion of the audience kept right on talking… They finally settled down.

Visually I, Claude Monet was beautiful, often morphing between real landscapes and views to the work of the artist. I didn’t know anything about his biography so there were parts that were interesting, all told via his letters to others but it seemed to devolve into ‘my life is miserable, the painting is hard or impossible and I need money.’ It was all done with a single narrator, which didn’t help. Monet did have hard stretches of life especially in is young adulthood, but I would have liked to know more about his thoughts about the work of others or other’s reactions to Monet’s work etc. To put it better, they could have made him more three dimensional.

I might watch it again given the chance because I was warm and sleep-deprived and my eyes wanted to close. I fought this because the views were gorgeous and seeing the paintings that large was wonderful.

When it was over, I went back through the building to get to my car and this book leapt into a bag and insisted on going with me. Whatcha gonna do?

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Today in the Sunshine

Also found planted in the nearby garden, in case I ever need to verify my location:

I’m off to the Clark Art in Williamstown to look at new things and see the movie I, Claude Monet. I wonder if future people will be rummaging through our emails to gain insight about what we did today?

Being A ___________ (Paterson)

Wednesday I went to see Paterson at the Spectrum and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I was one of about six or seven people, almost all women, in the small theater and it was blessedly silent once the movie began.

I was taken in right away by the skillful story telling. It’s clear from the start what the devices are, the repetition that will carry you from place to place in the movie. Like most good structures, it allowed for freedom and movement and surprises but never left you floundering in a mist of wondering what’s going on. The movie moves the two characters and their dog through each day, one after the other. Paterson, the main character, thrives in this world of dailiness and repetition, not because every day is exactly the same but because it allows him to be aware and take in all the small details and differences. His routine is what gives him the freedom to roll words around and to do his work.

His wife Laura, a good foil for him, lives in a world of changing focus and ideas, going from one thing to another, but she does have (within the space of the time we’re with them) stick-to-it-ness as well, doing some things in a series almost behind the scenes and striking out in other ways. She shows determination to master new things and to succeed although her ideas often start with “I’m going to be rich and famous and successful”. In one area we are shown that she has the ability to succeed and I was confident, as is her supportive husband, that she’ll succeed in whatever she chooses.

Into this life is thrown a day of the unexpected. First a small malfunction (which everyone takes to the “it could have become a fireball!” comedic end thought) and then a moment of fast reaction, the move of ordinary citizen and hero and then a moment of success (“I was a success!”) and then a tragedy. Not a death or rejection but a great and unexpected loss. How does one recover from that?

The next day, our sad hero goes out into the world, and we’re not sure what will happen. He introduces himself to a stranger as “just a bus driver” which gave me a pang. Was his life as we’d known it really over? Was the artist lost? But then the stranger becomes the catalyst, does the unexpected (apparently even surprising himself) and puts everything to right.

The visuals of the film were wonderful, at once repetitive and yet reflecting how every day brings new light to old traveled paths. The interior of their house is the canvas of the wife, ever changing and yet showing the arc of her work, continuous and connected. The work “place” and the neighborhood bar could be anywhere and yet spoke to the unique feeling that many hold, that their hometown is special and a setting for great people, artists and events. All this happens with the usual undercurrent of the drama of others, real and imagined.

Front and foremost though, the workings of an artist’s mind, shown majorly through the poet and his process and also through his multi-faceted and caring wife and hers.

Super enjoyed this and look forward to seeing it again, just because I loved the story line and especially the visuals of it so much.