'When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.'
I've just started reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin – which has been on my tsundoku pile for some time. I also picked up a cheap copy of the film – which I watched last night, and quite enjoyed it (although Nick Cage feels like he's trying hard and is terribly earnest, but is awkwardly miscast - which puts something of a dampener on the romance).
I do love Penelope Cruz in it, however, and the always-wonderfully-compelling John Hurt.
Their father-and-daughter exchanges are subtle and thoughtful and gently underplayed, and speak of a long-worn ease and unspoken understanding. I found the explorations of their elder-child/student-teacher relationship more fascinating than the rest of the story – in spite of its arching tale of war and sweeping romance and doomed love. Perhaps because it put me in mind of quiet times I spent in my childhood with my own Dad, with my Taid and with my Uncle Mark – gentle, thoughtful hours of learning or exchanging or creating together.
Sometimes the more quiet, subtle moments – the tiny snapshots of everyday human lives and their modest-yet-profound connections - are more intriguing and truthful than the epic tales in which they inhabit.
I also loved that here's something of a Prospero / Miranda feel to Hurt and Cruz's Dr. Iannis and Pelagia:
The revered, ageing single father – the learned medic and wise man, marooned on a sumptuous preserved island, with his long-worn regrets and joys etched into his weathered, tanned face. And his intelligent, curious, headstrong daughter – who has come of age, yet is apparently unaware of her striking, almost fey-like beauty. A daughter now grown into woman-hood, torn between the sleepy, familiar protection of the island she was born onto, and the wider, more dangerous, volatile world outside.
And he looking on - troubled, vigilant - while watching her take her first tentative steps towards intimacy and love.
All the while, the violent realities of the changing outside world begin to lean in, pushing and straining at the glass roof of their enclosed little snowglobe world, and breaking through their sheltered reverie.
This scene between them was one that I found particularly moving. A world-weary father astutely observing his daughter's first helpless, headlong plummet into the complexities of real love. And the understanding of its beautiful realities.
'Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is.'
Yes, yes, how very true.
It'll be interesting to see how the book compares. smile emoticon