Pip, Pip, Hurrah

/ Movies /
extracted from my Movie Scrapbook, will edit

2015 09 21 I scribble movie stuff here in a long string, Karouac-like (you know he typed not on pages but on a continuous roll). Sections of the string may graduate to their own post, other string gets moved to a couple of archive files: I haven’t yet learned how long the string can be before everything crashes, but long strings, too many pix, slow everything down: I try to avoid them.
I’m now emptying the archive files but don’t delete the reduced files: they’re linked in the many menus.

2015 09 21 Once upon a time if I started watching a movie, I finished watching that movie: I’d paid 75¢, I’d bought a ticket, of course I was going to watch all of it. I didn’t like it? So what? I was still going to watch all of it. And then 75¢ became $2, $2 became $5 …
Oh, it’s so different now: I can stream 30 seconds of of something and quick, bail out.
Still a glimpse isn’t necessarily wasted. Looking at Marilyn Monroe for ten seconds may or may not be better than dating her once, being married to her for three years, or for twenty years … (I don’t know: did she live long enough for that?)

Yesterday I watched ten minutes of Cowspiracy. A subject I already know a lot about, have strong feelings about, have sacrificed my life to first- and second-cousins of, been a martyr to … In fact it was so relevant I couldn’t stand it! had to bail. (But I’ll sneak back and lick more such vomit anytime, if civilization lasts that long.)

Just now I watched 60 or 90 seconds of Mr. Pip. More than enough to know that I was head over heels in love: with the movie, with the idea, with the little island girl holding her Dickens in the Dickens museum.
I was recently reminded of the W. Somerset Maugham novel about reading and rereading A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most successful novels since Dickens! And I know instantly that Mr. Pip is a zillion times greater, more serious: more loveable.

Mr. Pip
thanx IMdb

I’m just beginning but have already paused several times, not to get away, but to insert things, to focus on some things, fix them in longer-term memory …
I paused to look up the writer, the director (same guy), to research him, what else he’s done, see what if any I’ve seen … And I visit Rotten Tomatoes: maybe not such a good idea as it proves, but it’s done now:
The critics were lukewarm to it. Uh uh: will this movie turn on me? Or are the critics morons? Yes, of course, but the movie could still turn on me. One is at risk of one declares love at first meeting: will this even be a good one night stand? Does the pretty girl have the clap?
I’ll venture now: subject to confirmation: they’re morons, they don’t know, don’t understand, what they’ve seen.
It’s work, hard work, one critic complained.

I’ll concede them one thing: this movie is taylor fit for me. To see it I recommend that you have know, known intimately, the David Lean version of Great Expectations since your childhood, mid-1940s. I recommend that you’ve seen that classic a half dozen times since, at least once a decade. I recommend that you’re read the novel in youth, at least by high school, certainly by college, again by graduate school: at the same time I recommend that you have your own literary genius: that you relate to Shakespeare, to Chaucer, to Dickens at least partly as a peer, someone whose work overlaps your own …
And ferinstance I want you to understand that the movie inserts imagined scenes: we see Dickens story through the personalizing imaginations of PopEye the teacher’s immature students: twelve year olds reading about a twelve year old. Of course they experience that narrative as though it were them: Papua New Guinea tribe-children. Yes, and why shouldn’t a little tribe girl be hidden behind the tomb stone when Pip, here a black native boy, is grabbed by the starving Magwich?

Best of all, instantly, from the early film feet, I love the movie’s quoting the Dickens’ sentiment that

It is a most miserable thing to be ashamed of home.

By golly, that’s the tone, the tonal context, in which I read the novel, certainly in college if not in high school. Dickens is a marvel how he makes the readers drool after what Pip idiotically, wrongly, destructively, wastefully drools for: mis-valuing Joe, and Miss Havesham, and Estella. Pip trades a great healthy life with Joe for a cankered dream of great expectations as a Victorian goddam gentleman.
The great movie shoves our noses in how much of this Dickens masterpiece we didn’t get: not in 1860-61, not in 2012, not in 2015 …

One thing I adore: Pip meets Magwich as a prison ship is anchored off the coast. Matilda hears the story as the copper-devouring war nations sabotage each other, sitting on the face of the natives. Yes, they’re surrounded by real rifles, always have been.

Keep your eye on Xzannjah Matsi: most impressive, but we need a body of work, more than one title.
I’ll come back and express disappointment at how the movie mucked with the concent “gentleman”: the film was on the verge of profundity but oozed onto the wishy washy path.

Next day, seen it, slept on it. Here’s what I just wrote to my son and family:
I urge theMarcus to become acquainted with the movie Mr. Pip ASAP if not already so acquainted: and, if you are, why didn’t you tell me?!

English weirdo starts teaching the school in a tribal village in Papua New Guinea, he starts reading them Great Expectations, a chapter a day.
They All respond to it (as who doesn’t?). Soon the school is bursting at the seams, parents are coming.
It reminds me of the immortal week in NYC when WBAI was reading War & Peace aloud over the air for one 24 hours every day week. Glorious.

Well, we see the people seeing themselves as Pip, Joe, Miss Havisham, Estella …

Meantime the society is skewed, no adult males except thugs assisting the kleptocracy, raping murdering at will, protecting civilization: in the form of a copper mine.

Like Christians seeing Jesus etc as “white” they see Pip etc as black.

I loved loved loved it until it destroyed it’s own experience by admiring Pip’s diseased concept of “gentleman”. It’s that disease that causes Pip to become ashamed of his home, that makes him no longer belong there, that makes him want to belong in the hell hole Satis House, that makes him desire the toxic Estella.

This movie maker flew entirely under my radar by making Shrek and Narnia movies.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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