Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Capital A

If you can bear one more day of non-knitting chatter, I'll try to return to it tomorrow. I haven't picked up the needles since Friday, but I think I'm now through the worst of this week's brutal schedule.

Until then, I'd like to talk about art. Scratch that. I want to discuss Art. With its connotations of refinement, elitism, and the esoteric, it is considered, in many instances, a dirty word, especially when placed in opposition to entertainment. (No would dream of capitalizing that word, of course.)

Art is work rather than fun, cold rather than warm, of the head rather than of the heart...or so the thinking goes; however, I don't believe these things must be mutually exclusive. Sometimes art's pleasures are more cerebral than sensual, but the greatest melds the two qualities into something with unique power.

That's right, I saw a film tonight that penetrated the fiber of my being and invigorated my weary body and spirit. A great film can do that. Art can do that.

I had the chance to take another look at There Will Be Blood. I saw it about three and a half weeks ago amid the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas rush. While I enjoyed it quite a bit then, I wasn't able to devote my full attention to it. Since I got less than four hours of sleep last night, I wasn't sure that I could manage to stay awake in the theater this evening.

I did not have a problem remaining alert. I was transfixed while I felt the film working its magic. If it sounds like a spiritual experience, it was in the way that great art can lift us up and out of ourselves. Feeling this transcendence does not happen often when going to the movies (or reading, listening to music, etc.), but when it does, it is indescribable. I perceive more vitality in me, as though every cell in my body is buzzing.

Needless to say, this ended my internal debate of what film to name as the best of 2007. (Yeah, it can be more of a gut feeling than anything.) The challenge now is writing a review to do it justice. I do offer a caveat that the film is an acquired taste. I don't mean to draw battle lines between art and entertainment because I think both can be found wherever one looks. (For Pete's sake, Music and Lyrics will be in my top ten.) Still, I concede that There Will Be Blood may be slower and darker than some will find comfortable. It's not a film you want to hug.

I can think of other art that has provoked such strong responses in me, but I'm curious what you think. Does this sound foreign to you, or can you relate? If so, what grabbed you?

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