When I began posting to this blog a few days ago, I anticipated that the first film I would have written about at length is the film from which my blog, website, and book all spring, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.
I’ll get to Traces soon.
My wife and I made the unusual choice (for us, anyway) of devoting yesterday afternoon (a Friday) to going to the movies. We went to see Across the Universe, a film that has received mixed reviews but that several friends of hers highly recommended.
Simply stated, we were mesmerized from the start. We were pulled into the story slowly and then were transfixed. We listened to songs we’ve known by heart since growing up with them in the 60’s.
Great art is ambiguous. It allows viewers, readers, participants, to bring their own experiences, needs, interpretations into play. I’ve had my own images connected with various Beatles songs for most of my life. Across the Universe asks us to see the music of the Beatles in a new light; through the imagination of director Julie Taymor.
The film works on every level: engaging story, incredible imagery, the music, of course, and most important, beneath the tumult of the depicted times–Viet Nam war protests, race riots, drugs, sex, rock & roll–I felt an invitation to dig deeper. Beneath the surface of the music and story I found pervasive sadness in the fact that we–our society, our world–continue to wallow in the dogmas, pride, and fear of the “other” that continue to separate us, leading to polarization along the usual lines: politics, religion, gender, age, race. My sadness during the film was interrupted by joy when, against all odds, love broke through from time to time.
As we walked out of the theatre into the rainy night the question that screamed out in my mind was this: when will we finally listen to the Beatles and the many wise teachers and prophets throughout history who have all given us the same basic wisdom:
All you need is love.