Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
When I think of poetry, I often marvel at the way older people still remember passages that they had to memorize during the school days.
I studied many works, traveled through Dante, Plutarch, and, of course, Shakespeare. But I have retained little of it.
I might remember a line from Byron, the opening line from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the awful ‘tree’ poem. I can recite some biblical verses because they are rhymed or have a nice flair to them.
My favorite will always be “I am a stranger in a strange land” stated by Moses when he arrives in Midian.
Some poets like to be purposefully obscure in their writings while others lay out their feelings so that they reader can easily pick up on the emotions and physical scene surrounding the writer. Sometimes that comma that might seem like a distraction was actually purposely placed to make us slow down and feel the heart ache of the writer.
Image from thefamouspeople.com
One of my favorite poets is e.e. cummings who turned phrases inside out while ignoring all rules of punctuation. I am not always sure what he is saying but it sounds lovely as he tries to find new ways to describe how he feels about his love.
No one, not even the rain, has such small hands.
I first heard this line in a Woody Allen movie, Hannah and Her Sisters. The movie is about three sisters who are at different stages of life. The incredibly capable Mia Farrow believes she is happily married to Michael Caine. Barbra Hershey is living with a man who does not want any children. Actress and caterer Diane Weist is searching for something. And Mia’s ex-husband, Allen, is flitting around in the belief he is dying from something.
Poetry is used to seduce one sister, death knocks at the door and changes it mind while true love blossoms unexpectedly. Set in the upper middle class of NYC, it is a movie about the bond of sisters, the ability to forgive, and the fear of moving on.
While this movie came out in 1987, I find very few movies use poetry unless it is a historical movie. After all, nothing sets a historical scene like a good epic poem. One movie that I remember from recent years takes an old rhyme about a treasonous group.
Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot
II know of no reason, why the Gunpowder Treason, should ever be forgot.
Poster Image from IMDb.com
In V for Vendetta, England is now ruled by a man who looks and acts like Hitler. Anyone who defies him or stands against him disappears and will eventually be put to death. The small group of rebels disappear, are tortured, and killed. While all of this goes on, there is one man who is willing to get the revenge while we learn his story and that of the young woman he chooses as a partner after saving her from the secret police.
It is a movie that talks about the price of freedom, moving poetry and culture into the mix so that it is almost natural. And let’s not forget the spectacular explosion at the end of the movie. Are either of these movies family friendly? Well, they are if you have teenagers but the smaller members might have to be satisfied with a Dr. Suess movie.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.