Everyday Words

Pride & Predjudice

October 28, 2005

Tonight I went to a special previewing of Pride and Prejudice where director Jo Wright and star Donald Sutherland spoke. By the end of it all, I had to tuck myself away to gather myself; it had been a roller coaster evening when all I was prepared for was a movie.

It began by hearing the director talk. He was quite young which surprised me, however, his ability to speak about the movie, why he did it, and what it was like helped me to believe in movie making again. I’m not one for “Hollywood” but I do adore being on a film set of a good movie – I love the process of it all. I don’t, however, like all the ass kissing, the show and tell, the being something that seems to go along with it. There’s a definite game that gets played in Hollywood and I’ve often wondered how to be a part of it without being a part of it. That struggle has kept me from doing as much as I want to do. However, Jo’s chat, combined with him being my age and just starting out and believing in what he was doing helped me to believe that aside from the politics of it all, there is still movie making going on and I can continue to work in it, somehow.

Watching the movie, memories I had long tucked away came back. I remembered my 18 year old self, living in England in a manor home on an estate and all that went with that – the politics, the decadence, the pride and prejudice (ironic!). There was good and bad to that time and it all came welling up at once. Sometimes one thinks they’ve changed so much but really, they’ve just changed locations and become a little older. When I thought of myself then, I didn’t recognise that girl only to realise that so much of her is still with me. It also reminded me that I’m not really one for the city, that I do enjoy a quieter pace with space but that I need some kind of sophisticated living. Cabin girl I’m not. French provincial, mais oui. The movie was a beautiful break from billboards, traffic and mini skirts at least. It reminded me of where I’m trying to get to, eventually.

And the last thing to hit me, well, it was perfectly timed I suppose. There is a scene at the end involving the father, Mr. Bennet (played by Donald Sutherland). It was the way in which he spoke to his daughter that caught me off guard – he was both sad and joyous at once. Proud of her getting everything that she was meant for yet sad because it meant her to be gone from him. It was an incredibly touching, well-acted moment that was so subtle that unless you were a father or a daughter you might miss it.

I didn’t.

After the movie, Donald Sutherland spoke; his humour and unpretentious, unconscious way of speaking just topped it all. He was really an actor in all good sense of the word. He was at ease and I think that threw off the Hollywood crowd that was there. Each time he was asked a question and answered it, people in the audience would laugh to which he’d have to say, “No really, I’m serious.” I think a lot of people in this town expect people to always be “on” or trying to be something or have all the answers. He was just he and often said, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”. And it was terribly endearing and really, really amazing.

As I walked home from the theatre, I had all these thoughts and emotions. I tried to contemplate them all, right foot – movie making, left food – family. Right foot – where am I going. Left foot – where I’ve been. By the time I reached my flat I thought there’s really nothing to sort or figure out. Everything is intertwined – movies, life, creativity, communicating, stirring, living, being – it’s all a part of life. Nothing more. Nothing less. The trick is to just do what you want, have a moment when you need and be what you can without putting too much effort into wondering what it all means. Otherwise you miss it all.

(Just a note about the movie – it was incredibly, incredibly beautiful but it should have truly ended at the scene that I mentioned above. In England it did but because American audiences demand it, the ending went on longer and was changed to give “closure.” It was more modern, contrived, forced and just rather out of place. And I think really good work – writing, art, movies, music – shouldn’t cater to the lowest common denominator but make people rise to match it. Dummying stuff, explaining it, making everyone feel happy at the end well, how does that really help people expand? Art isn’t about explaining.)