I studied a bit over the week and read more in the Leonard Cohen Biography. I also worked on a few songs...one of which I posted earlier. Monday it's back to the grind.
I got into cooking a bit with a crock pot this week. I made some delicious Cafe Rio style pork, some chicken dish, and tomorrow we are going to try a pork roast. I don't know why I didn't use the thing more in college.
This week I watched "The Seventh Seal", which is a 1957 Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman that takes place during the dark ages, specifically the Black Plague. There is this card in a board game that we play that asks the player, "Would you rather live in Medieval times, the Old West, or Modern day." Whenever this card pops up in the game we laugh about how much of a no-brainer the answer is. Why would anyone ever choose a time in the past? Maybe if you chose a time in the future, that would be a bit more complicated, but nobody would actually want to go backwards. This movie reinforced this idea. The time period portrayed in The Seventh Seal is so dark and despairing, I felt like I was watching a movie about the apocalypse. Doing the obligatory wikipedia browsing after the film, I guess the tone is about right. People literally felt that the world was ending. I mean, 75 to 200 million died by the end of the 14th century. You never knew who was next, and when you got it, you only had about a week to live. Death was literally around every corner. Things were even made worse because people couldn't understand why it was happening. They didn't even know what a virus was. Sickness was either from God or the Devil, and so the tendency was to either run into the shelter of religion or run out of it. In this film, the self flagellation scenes were gruesome and difficult to watch even though they weren't all that graphic. I find it disturbing that people could be so desperate that they would buy into the notion that by preemptively punishing themselves they could escape some sort of worse divine punishment. And this is all only just the setting for the film's narrative. Here are some things I enjoyed about the film:
-Death was a creepy character. The costume and make-up was very simple but somehow memorable. I think much credit is due to Bengt Ekerot is due, he made the whole thing work to his advantage in portraying the character.
-I guess one of the lessons is that you can never really cheat death. It knows your time, it doesn't matter how you try to distract it, or yourself. You can't move the pieces back. Somehow I had a hope that maybe Antonius would win the game during the film's opening. You realize quickly that it's not possible. Nobody ever wins, we are just on a reprieve.
-The other striking thing is that although the characters all thought differently about religion, politics, and love, the end result was the same. Death comes the same way for everyone-it is a great unification. We can all live differently, but we all have death in common. It consumes everything uniformly, nobody is special. What happens afterwards is not part of the discussion in this film. We leave seeing them all carried away with death. All linked together.
-As mentioned above, if nothing else, this move made me really want to think about the time period and how it effected people and culture. Yeah, I know Ring Around the Rosy is a song about the Bubonic, but I want to read more about how the people, culture, and attitudes were effected by the massive death toll. Any good book recommendations?
Later I'll write about Spinal Tap.