The other day a friend and I saw an absolute gem of a film, a rarity for me, a film lover who’s found very little for quite a while that appeals. The story focuses on the members of a renowned string quartet, “A Late Quartet,” just passing their quarter-century mark playing together when their relationships, indeed their quartet suddenly begins to implode. The film does a lovely job of capturing the feel of their home base in NYC as well as their classical music world, with lots of subdued lighting, indoors and out, crisp air and snow laden streets, cramped New York spaces setting a tone of serious dedication and sophistication in one of the world’s capitals for “serious” art and music. The joy for me was watching warmth and deep affection, vulnerability and grace seep through the chilly air in the midst of what looked like a major train wreck for the group, now faced with illness, infidelity, and a host of other things all at once.
I don’t often see movies anymore that take these kinds of penetrating looks into emotions and values up front and personal in a quiet, refined kind of environment as opposed to a backdrop of brutality and war, or major family dysfunction, with over-the-top special effects. Sensibilities were showcased this time.
The film came on the heels of my having stumbled upon a new choral version of an e.e. cummings poem, “This Amazing Day”. Take a look at this link, but it speaks of his recognition that God’s creation is amazingingly wonderful! Worth fighting for.
That’s what I took from the film regardless of the producers’ or writers’ intentions. More and more it occurs to me that what one intends is not necessarily what others receive! Anyway, I felt I was witnessing in the film a call for more grace, to witness and stand for more grace, as I sense cummings’ poem suggests. Lest I say too much, you should see the film and judge for yourself.
But, I find myself still perplexed at how he and other poets and artists like him see this gloriousness so well. Today, or perhaps at any period, I have trouble when the world and even communities are locked in conflict, or ravaged by nature’s upheavals. And here in the U.S. we’ve had nearly two years of the latest contentious presidential campaign, topping off our continued financial troubles. I know what the poets say is true, on occasion I’ve felt it, but it’s not yet an abiding sense, the way I feel it should be, the way I suspect it is for some who are dedicated to the creative arts as it seemed in the film, or the outdoors. In the film it was uplifting to see people trying to rise above tragedy and bad behavior in an effort to salvage what was dear and precious.
It motivated me to commit to try harder to see with cummings’ eyes, or poets eyes, to ponder these ideas longer until I get at least a longer glimpse myself.
* Job 37