“I don’t need to be scattered here. I’ve been already.” – Peter Dunning
Peter and the Farm is a gorgeous film, often grotesquely so as it pierces the raw heart of life and death. First, with the stark reality of butchering animals, and secondly, with the depths of Peter’s personal existential crisis.
My first grade physical education class gave us the option of sitting out most days. Since I preferred to use that time to escape into other worlds, this was a boon for me. There was another reason I loved sitting on the bleachers during P.E.: there was a young girl who would often volunteer to play with my hair. The sensation this caused in me was like any other. It was comfort and warmth, but it was also a physical tingling that I felt below the surface of my skin. It was the most relaxing thing on Earth.
Harvey, a 1950 film based on a play by Mary Chase that beat out The Glass Menagerie for a Pulitzer Prize, has a lot to say about how we live our lives. Some of the wisdom in Harvey does ring true, but much of it is bathed in a gauzy romanticism.
Assia Wevill was a woman erased for a time, her existence concealed by her final lover, poet Ted Hughes. For decades, he shared very personal things with the world but always wrote Assia out of her own life. More recently, however, Assia’s existence is being retraced again, pieced back together and presented as part of the story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. After Sylvia died, Assia stepped into Sylvia’s life for a time, like walking into a ghost’s shadow. She cared for Sylvia’s children, lived in her rooms, and finally, six years later, killed herself the exact same way Sylvia committed suicide.
The Right To Die debate in the U.S is seeing a slow increase in states willing to take on statues allowing terminally ill people to peacefully end their lives when they want to. People like Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregan so she could end her life before brain cancer made her life unbearable, give faces and stories to champion the right of an individual to legally end their life when they’re up against the ravages of a devastating illness. But, should patients be able to end their lives over distressing chronic mental disorders like depression and anorexia? In Belgium and the Netherlands, people are doing just that.
29-year-old Christine Chubbok didn’t leave behind a note. Instead, she staged a grand and memorable performance. Looking healthy, well-groomed, and in good spirits the morning of July 15, 1974, the newswoman geared up for a special presentation. “She was in a much better than normal mood. To this day, her enthusiasm puzzles me,” news director Gordan Galbraith said of her demeanor that morning.
Sadness is such a difficult part of ourselves. Life, it often seems, would be better without it. But that’s not exactly true. I kind of like my sadness, as long as it’s balanced. When things go wrong, I’d rather just be quiet with it than to feel nothing at all. It can feel good to hurt, or to at least bring the hurt up to the surface enough to get it out through tears, words or hugs. Life itself is incredibly tough, and that’s why we need sadness to get us through. If we ignore it too much, the world takes on a dishonest veneer, and we feel a bit dishonest ourselves. We need to just talk, listen and rest sometimes. Sometimes we just need to say, simple as it is, “Yeah, it’s sad.” Pete Docter’s Pixar animated film Inside Out examines this importance of sadness in a way that’s never been done before on screen, maybe never been done before at all.
Pamela Moore wrote Chocolates for Breakfast, an eyebrow raising 1956 novel about lost teenage girls living privileged and depressing lives, when she was only 18. The book was a hit and put the female name Courtney on the map (Courtney Love counts herself among one of the girls named after protagonist Courtney Farrell,) but Pamela never had another hit and killed herself when she was only 27 years old. The popular book had several prints but lay dormant for years… Read more »
The Babadook isn’t a Hollywood monster or spirit that pulls you across the ceiling or sucks you into a strange underworld. He’s a Jungian-type shadow of the darkness inside our own hearts.
Olive Kitteridge is one of best examples of the “difficult” person in modern literature, and she’s been expertly channeled for the screen by Frances McDormand.