Friday, 29 January 2010

Opera in Film

Making art about things which are already inherently dramatic - like theatre or sporting events - is notoriously difficult. Allusion is usually the best, if  imperfect solution. Here's that scene from The Shawshank Redemption (it was on telly last night!) which manages to get a grip on the strange drama of beauty in music as Andy Dufresne brings a prison to a standstill with Mozart. The character Red says:

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free. 

So, to paraphrase Shakespeare on the back of the previous post:

I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I endure bad art

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