As I wrote in my previous post, I love movies. Friends are always surprised that on a beautiful, sunny, spring or summer weekend I will spend a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon watching a matinee in a darkened theater. For me that’s where the magic happens. Last night, as I was waiting in line to see a film, one of my fellow film-goers commented about our weather this week, “At least the weather is lousy, it’s perfect film festival weather.”
This week is the 15th Wisconsin Film Festival. On Thursday I saw I Am Divine, described by the filmmaker as an, “It Gets Better” story on crack. Glenn Milstead, a heavy-set, bullied kid from Baltimore reinvented himself as the drag artist Divine, collaborating with John Waters in a series of films including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester and Hairspray. The expression “larger than life” describes both Divine and this film. See it.
Last night was the first of four screenings of 56 Up, the latest in the documentary series chronicling the lives of a group of British children, beginning in 1964 and following up with them every seven years into adulthood, now as they approach their sixth decade. The Up series of films were named one of the top ten films of all time by Roger Ebert (see tribute in last week’s post).
Originally three screenings of this film were planned, but festival producers added a fourth screening, the first time in the history of the festival. See it if you can. Every showing is sold out, yet rush tickets may be available if you get there early and don’t mind waiting in line. See festival website for screening times, locations and rush tickets. At tonight’s show, Nick Hitchon, a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and one of the subjects of the series will attend.
Since I will be out and about seeing multiple films over the course of the next few days, three today and four tomorrow, plus one every day until Thursday, I won’t have much time to write. Instead, I offer these two poems inspired by the movies and my secret, guilty pleasure of watching romantic comedies and melodramas.
Movie matinee love story imprints on my heart;
a template is stamped awaiting its matching part,
loneliness expressed in sighs this Saturday afternoon,
as I give myself permission, open-heartedly to cry
in the darkened movie theatre
in softly wept whimpers,
like a small abandoned animal
separated from its litter. Pitiful am I.
Rom-Com Love Bomb
Watching a romantic comedy,
themes of soul mates, one
lover for life, vexes me, perplexes me.
I want to believe she’s still out there
that we’re wandering, wondering,
each calling out, who is she, where is she,
we’re searching for each other,
lost in some wilderness of intimacy,
unknotting the tangles of
the wranglers of love,
who lasso us and keep us,
then leave us or heave us out some door.
Some days I feel I’ve been captive
by an irresistible force that became bored
with me, abandoned me, moved on.
I’m still working on forgive and forget
when I realize, my salvation, revelation is
forgive and remember.
I know I sound jaded, yet I’m persuaded
by movies and novels,
poems and pictures,
that love is a song waiting to be sung
when you meet the right one
it can never be wrong.
I have decades of practice, hits and misses,
been a wife, a lover, even the other.
I’ve been long-termed, one-nighted,
divorced and remorseful,
yet I still wake up in the morning
and ask, is today the day, I meet her,
greet her in some random place
share a cup of coffee and conversation,
court her, caress and seduce her,
promise her the best of me, believe her,
get lost in her eyes, let go of the past
embrace her and the future, again?