Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Without the Lover There is No Beloved: An Appreciation of the Audience

This is a blogger's true confession.

How I admire all of you who make art, who write about art, who inform and educate and thrill me with your creativity and insight. Movies have been my passion for most of my life, and yet I hardly care to know who directed it, who wrote it, who provided amazing lighting or music or sound. For me, the Academy Awards could last no more than 1 hour with but 5 categories (actors, actresses and film). I am the person in the dark. I am the audience.

don't worry, Lina Lamont, your audience loves you

With bubbles of creativity gurgling in my brain, this has been deeply conflicting for me. I should care more, be more critical in my thinking, I should create more. But I don't. Instead, I am drawn into the magic of Chaplin, Keaton, Kay Francis, Ann Dvorak, James Cagney, Cary Grant, and most recently, Charles Boyer. It is always the stars, so magically presented, that lure me in. My rational mind knows that is it all make believe and that an army of artists and artisans have combined their creative forces to produce this moment of stardust. 

looking for the magic

This has always been a little upsetting for me. I read that Buster Keaton, upon his first encounter with a movie camera, had to take it apart to discover how it worked. Good thing that wasn't me! The damn thing would have been left in pieces!

can you feel the magic?

In so many ways, I have felt like a fraud when it comes to movie knowledge. But finally I have come to terms and accepted my place in this process. Without an audience, there is no magic. The audience, with its appreciation and love, breathes life into a piece of film, a canvas, a printed page or a beautiful fabric. So, in my way, I am playing my part in keeping these beautiful things alive. That is no small thing. As an added benefit, acknowledging this also gives me power over negative noises in our midst. I can chose my beloveds. The troubles of the world are of the moment; Bogie and Bergman, Fred and Ginger, and Scarlett and Rhett are forever as long as there is an audience for them. We grow old, but Chaplin is forever young as long as there is love for cinema.

Norma as Casandra

Norma Desmond was wise. She knew she owed it all to those wonderful people out there in the dark. And yes, I know those lines were written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, but let me have this. Sit back and enjoy the show. That is all that is needed.