Is Your Favorite Movie a Poem?

July 30, 2010 § 7 Comments

Today I left work early to catch a movie. I wanted the dark hush, my brain needed stimulation, and I craved a different reality.  Spending so much time on the computer and Internet at work and home, I needed something completely outside myself.  Read a good book, I hear you say. True, I could. But even then I’m in my own head and I wander off onto the familiar, rutted back roads of my internal musings.

So a movie it was, a matinee. Winter’s Bone. Excellent, the reviews said, dark and cold, but hopeful. All true, although it wasn’t as dark as I expected. (Nothing is, by the way. I was traumatized during my years as a therapist working with trauma survivors, and so far nothing comes close to the stories I heard then.) Winter’s Bone is a quiet film and the dialogue is perhaps  25% of the screen time. Much of the time I was left to interpret icy, hollow eyes and parched, wintry faces. Reading between the lines.

And this morning on NPR, I heard an interview with Robert Duvall about his new film, Get Low. According to the interviewer, Mr. Duvall’s on the screen in almost every scene but has very little to say until the climactic reveal at the end (no spoilers here – I don’t know what it is).

So, I’m pondering the similarities between films and poetry. My favorite poem is Mary Oliver’s, and her quiet reflections leave me creating my own fictions. She’s not violent like Winter’s Bone, but she touches on the same themes of environment, connection, and loss. I feel her deep silence in movies with few words. And perhaps adventure films are like Poetry Slams, where ambitious car crashes and split second edits mimic a torrential rush of words. Slumdog Millionaire is Whitman’s Song of Myself – both propel us across wide swathes of inner and outer landscapes. I see now how poetry, novels, and movies feed my soul and contain a similar essence.

What’s a film that spoke to you recently? And I wonder, do you see a similarity between it and a favorite author? Do tell.

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§ 7 Responses to Is Your Favorite Movie a Poem?

  • neil reid says:

    I’ll have to go to the archives here. Nothing recent, the way you say. “Whale Rider” which at its best meaning needs be taken poetically I think (then it is an amazing poem about faith). “Big Fish”, much the same; take a little or a lot by your willingness to surrender, allow the impossible truth to be true. “March of the Penguins”, and bless the French for seeing poetic truth within a very real chronology of life. Maybe I could inferentially relate that to Terry Tempest Williams that way – an honesty that doesn’t look away, and the story and voice-over is about a poetic as poetic needs be. (Read her book “Red” – while not poetry, it is.) More recent, Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” has a rawness of vision like Steinbeck does. “Das Boot” is one long intense poem of horror and haste (the German version). Maybe someone ought to take me out to the movies more? (And I don’t read much fiction.)

  • G says:

    Sadly, most movies that I see have no connect with a favorite author, which makes sense in a way since I don’t have a favorite author.

  • bschooled says:

    Funny, reading this just made me realize I haven’t seen a movie in a very, VERY long time.

    Thanks to you, I think I’m going to get away myself this weekend and do just that.

    I’ll let you know what happens. :)

  • Abby says:

    Inception — somehow it felt similar to Calderon de la Barca’s Life is a Dream.

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