“Perhaps we are the same person. Perhaps we have no limits; perhaps we flow into each other, stream through each other, boundlessly and magnificently. You bear terrible thoughts; it is almost painful to be near you. At the same time it is enticing. Do you know why?”
― Ingmar Bergman, Fanny och Alexander
“To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
The Artist & I love to watch great films that stir the soul and the mind.
Last night, after a dinner of curried coconut & carrot soup that was stirring in and of itself, we settled in to watch Ingmar Bergman’s 1982 classic “Fanny och Alexander” ….. the extended version that runs to a sublime 5-1/2 hours!.
Bergman directed 62 films, over 170 plays and was a 9X Academy Award nominated director. I’ve never watched any of his films, but The Artist has a deep connection to his work and I was caught up in her discussions of his works. This quote from Bergman is quite telling I believe:
“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
Soooooo ….. one might rightly ask, what all of this has to do with tonight’s blog title?
I’m getting to that. It wont take me 5 hours, but it is a very convoluted tale, so stay with me here!
After watching about 2+ hours of the film last night, we decided to savor the rest over the next few days and head off to bed for some meditation/sleep/dreams.
However, the fates seemed to have other ideas and along with 2 kittens lending their energy to the milieu and our own jangly energies from our OBE meditations, we found ourselves still awake at 3:00 AM.
So we did the most natural thing …. we got up, made coffee and egg/cheese/sprout wraps and had a late-late-late dinner.
Then we started watching the most amazing 3 hour version of the Royal Shakespeare Companies “Hamlet” in which the actor David Tennant (Dr Who fame) gives the performance of lifetimes as Hamlet. Patrick Stewart is excellent as both Hamlet’s uncle Claudius and the vengeful ghost of his murdered father!
We watched about half of this, saving the other half for tonight. The Artist in her usual eloquent way, discussed the depths of this play and also how it’s key to Bergman’s F&A film we were watching.
I could never do justice to her insights, so here is The Artist in her own words:
“So, G. agreed to watch the full four-part version of Fanny &
Alexander, which is amazing in itself. And I’d never seen it, only the
chopped-up theatrical version which was a skeleton of the original.
And so, we watched part one in its hallucinatory color, each scene
showing interiors far richer than Versailles, and slowly got to know
the Ekdahl family – its dead father, its aging sons, its powerful and
girlish matriarch, Helena. By the end of this segment it became clear
that Bergman, in what he’d meant to be last movie, was retelling
Hamlet through near-silent Alexander’s eyes, and he understood that
Hamlet wasn’t about a cold and trivial kingdom in old Denmark, but
about the entire race of men and our place in the universe.
So now we had to rewatch part 1 — two hours, rewind, go back, look
deeper. G agreed to this graciously, what does that tell you?
The Hamlet substory became even more painfully clear as we rewatched
F&A with better-tutored eyes. But who had seen Hamlet in years? We
had to refresh ourselves with this too to see the two grand works play
off each other.
But so many disappointing Hamlets! Kenneth Branaugh, Mel Gibson, Ethan
Hawke – thanks, but no. That grainy BBC version from the 80s …
please, no. Lawrence Olivier? You have to be kidding me. Hasn’t anyone
ever done a watchable Hamlet?
What’s that, you say? A BBC reboot in 2009 starring David Tennant and
Patrick Stewart? GOD, YES. That’s the one (why didn’t anyone tell me?)
It’s even better, far far better, than we hoped. Okay. Pause F&A to
watch all of 2009’s Hamlet, which is like pausing double-chocolate
cake to eat creme brulee.
As we watch one talk to the other, we see Shakespeare and Bergman
seeing the same thing, the world of god-men shattered with the pieces
to be picked up by all-too-mortal human offspring, who know they’ve
been deposed of a great inheritance but don’t know when or how.”
About 5:00 am, and instead of trying to go back to sleep (which would be the logical thing to do!), we decided instead to head out to the Ocean Path near Sand Beach and take an early morning hike (sunrise was not until 6:48)
It was 39 deg F and grey with a slight misty rain as we left. We HAD to stop and get a couple coffees to go …hot and creamy!
We arrived to a completely deserted Sand Beach and wandered taking in the beauty and raw power in the early morning light…
The surf was “playful” but as the tide was coming in, we could tell that it was picking up a bit….
….. which gave some great views as we looked south towards Otter Cliff.
Even though the wind was a bit sharp & cold, we decided to wander down to “Thunder Hole” to see if we could catch any action. As we wandered along the rocky shore, the first hints of a rising sun behind the cloud cover out to the east welcomed us with the most beautiful rainbow colors….
Along the way, the bright red winterberry bushes were aglow in the morning light. It seems everybody takes pics of the winterberry, so I never do. However, The Artist prevailed upon me and in my sleep-deprived state I took a shot ….
We came upon the most beautiful very old spruce tree that was gnarled by huge burls …
This was a work of natural art….
As we made our way to Thunder Hole (which is one of the most visited tourist spots on the island), we joked about giving it a new name. Thunder Hole is a natural formation that booms like thunder and can shoot water 40 feet into the air when (if) the waves and incoming tide are caught as just the right moment. There is a natural cleft in the rock cliffs and a small partly submerged cave where air gets trapped on an incoming wave that makes the loud sound.
However, years ago a piece of the rock cliff broke off which has quieted the beast a bit, and you have to catch the ocean in just the right mood to experience the raw power ….. which a lot of tourist never get a chance to.
We rarely see it in its glory and thus joked about calling it “Sighing Pocket,” “Disconsolate Splash,” or our favorite: “Grumpy Old Man Coughing.”
As usual, it was pretty tame when we got there, even though the sea was quickening….
We watched the waves come in for about 10 minutes or so and were just deciding to leave when the air seemed to change …. it was as if the vengeful ghost of the dead king was walking his rounds!
As we watched, there was a huge sucking out of water and then a large surge started into the narrow channel….
It grew larger and louder…..
and with a mighty roar, it grew in front of our faces like a loosened god from Olympus!
…and then it crashed into us!!!!!!
The grumpy old man for a moment recalled his youth and took his revenge for our name calling…..
That was the only large experience we had and it faded as quickly as it came. The Artist took some video to see if we could capture some more “thunder”, but it was fairly tame ….. but still pretty cool!