My trip to DC was a great restorative. I woke up bright and early Sunday morning and visited the National Cathedral on Wisconsin Ave for the 11:15 a.m. service. It was Georgia state day. The weather was beautiful, the sky blue, not too hot.
I ran into a few people I had taken a class called Disciples of Christ in Communion with last year, which was great. I enjoyed the liturgy, though I noted it was an adapted form of Rite II using non-traditional language. I really am a high church snob. Once in a while I enjoy the creative use of liturgy but one of the best things about the Episcopal church is faithfulness to the prayerbook. I picked up a replacement copy of the prayerbook for myself in the museum store. I recently lost the one I received at my first communion/confirmation. On my way out I had a word with The Very Reverend Sam Lloyd, the current Dean of the Cathedral. I wanted to thank him, because several years ago when he was the rector of Trinity Copley Square in Boston, the church I attended for several years when I lived in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, his sermons made a difference in my life. I’d never heard anyone preach the way he does, so honest and open about his relationship with God. About his struggles with resolving the temporal with the spiritual.
Next I had brunch at Les Halles, Eggs Benedict, fresh croissant, pommes frite, a pot of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was like melted ganache. Delicious! The restaurant is located between Congress and the White House on Pennsylvania. Next I went to see The Fall by Tarsem. The film was amazing, truly beautiful, a veritable work of art.
I got goosebumps watching it, I cried, I gaped open mouthed at some of the visuals, and the music was haunting and evocative. I’ve been trying to find the soundtrack since I’ve gotten home but it doesn’t seem to be available. This movie is now on my list of top 10 of all time, which is saying something. It’s about the nature of storytelling and how the listener and the storyteller are collaborators in the creative process. The main character is a little girl named Alexandra. While in a hospital in 1920’s California, she meets Roy, played by Pushing Daisies’s Lee Pace (a real hottie). He tells her an epic story to get her to steal morphine for him so he can commit suicide over the loss of a girlfriend he was madly in love with. When he starts the story he introduces each of the characters and as he does, we see them through the eyes of Alexandra’s imagination accompanied by the sound of Roy’s hypnotic voice. He tells of the Indian married to the most beautiful squaw in the land, and Alexandra who has only ever seen an Indian from India imagines him, in his traditional garb with his beautiful wife. Is the story really a product of Roy’s imagination or Alexandra’s? There are times when Alexandra herself interrupts and changes the story, exerting the insistence and power of a child’s boundless hope against Roy’s loss and despair.
It’s also about the redemptive power of stories. Since the way I make sense of the world is through stories, this really appealed to me. Combine that with arguably some of the richest, most powerful, and eye dazzling imagery ever shot on film and it’s easy to see why Tarsem is considered a genius in many circles. I’ve been reduced to watching the trailer over and over on my iPod to hear the music.
Still, it’s worth it. 🙂
I also admire Lee Pace, the lead actor who plays the Black Bandit, and the young actress who is the female lead is truly magical. Here they are, as they live in her imagination, guided by the words of his storytelling.