Manipulating the senses

I watched Lincoln on DVD. I enjoyed it. Spielberg can make the ‘Great American Film’ well, it has become his forte. The sweep of the subject and the intimacy of Lincoln’s personal life were well contrasted, the period feel hard to fault. I liked how the war room had parallels to today’s depictions. What we see looking back as a lofty moral crusade actually came down to some dirty political skulduggery and that was beautifully depicted. It was good that the language was not softened for modern ears and it altogether had a feel of authenticity, whether it did or not is always open to question. There was a feel of The West Wing about it and it entertainingly and intelligently dealt with a critical moment in US history. It was far from being too long and I wanted more! Spielberg can sweep the emotions and is an expert at bringing tears to the eyes at the right moment even when you know your mind is being manipulated by the combination of sound and image.

My mother was of a generation who went at least once a week to ‘the pictures’. Part of that experience was crying and a good film wasn’t good if it didn’t leave you emotionally drained. ‘Weepie’s’ were big box office!

I can’t think I have sat reading and wept very often. I think the drugs they stuffed me with at the hospital made me more susceptible and I even wept at the end of the David Beckham Sainsbury’s ad (luckily those have now flushed my body!). But in writing it is very difficult to create that and is it an emotion we want to conjure? Well certainly a writer like Dickens did and many others. I suppose it has to make contact with the readers own experience. Last night I watched a new TV multi part series Broadchurch, about the seeming murder of an 11 year old boy. I kept getting a feeling about the setting, a bit of coastline which I had been to, and a book Julie Myerson’s Something Might Happen. It is as if David Tennant’s detective character is on the ‘other side’ of that book.

Something Might Happen is a remarkable book about the desperation of grief, about a mother whose daughter has been murdered on a beach and her living through the police investigation. It’s not a mystery but a profound and heart rending psychological study, she makes huge personal errors which you cannot stop because Julie Myerson is not the sort of writer to stop a character from making them! If you’ve not read it then do so and you won’t forget it for a long time!


 Today’s photo is a self-portrait sitting at my desk on a bright chilly day.




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