This morning while walking the track at the Jamestown YMCA, listening to the soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans, and trying to meditate, I kept thinking instead about Anna Karenina.
If you read my post yesterday, you know that I was mesmerized by Anna’s jewelry and the way it was photographed in the film. Here’s an excerpt:
Her gowns and coiffures are breathtaking, but the jewelry goes beyond that. The luster of the pearls and sparkle of the diamonds are so dazzling that Anna’s luminous skin and eyes fade into background.
Anna’s jewels speak to the sharp divisions that allowed elites to live an unbelievable lifestyle of entitlement they don’t stop to consider while peasants starve throughout Russia. I have never in my life imagined that jewelry could be so beautifully photographed, and I have never felt quite so conflicted about my response to it — admiring, then resisting, and finally rejecting.
The progress of my thinking about the jewelry emerged over a couple of days, but I’m not sure I would have made that leap except for a conversation I had Sunday night, a day after I saw the film.
My habit is to try not to read much about films until after I’ve seen them and, generally, after I’ve written about them. But, whenever I see a film that gives me a lot to process or that leaves a me a little unsure or that engages me intensely, there is one person I like to talk the film over with to get a perspective that always informs and leads me to a richer understanding of any given movie.
Seeing, thinking, sometimes talking it out, and writing – that’s my process for understanding how I feel about a film (and why) and for making arguments about what the story (form and content) means.
Since I’m still thinking about Anna Karenina, I might just have to see it again. What did I miss? I won’t know unless I take another look (if I can find the time). There is a lot there. Seeing a film twice is an unusual treat…but not as nice as having someone whose conversation about films never disappoints.