A poet of the silver screen

DesmondSwords to BaronCharlus: My philosophy is, there is the best poem in the world on a piece of paper, locked in a drawer, and no one has read it but the author. Now whether that poem appears in a billion books or one piece of paper, it is the same text, and that is my bottom line,

Des is making an important and good point in his second sentence there, and yet . . . and yet . . . how I do love the things we all say in this medium . . .

Two weekends ago, I saw Woody Allen‘s latest film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Thanks to the many discussions about poetry with blogger-comrades, I wept longer than anyone else in the cinema at a scene in which a short, deeply tanned, nonagenarian Spanish poet with a jutting beard bounces around on spring-loaded feet. There’s absolutely no doubt about who wrote the script when this ancient creature tells his son that he still has erotic dreams about his former daughter-in-law, whom we recognise as the luscious Penélope Cruz.

The son, played by Javier Bardem – an Aztec statue come to life, if ever there was one – struggles to explain to an American girlfriend why the old man has never published his work. I took no notes, but am sure that these are virtually his words:

‘You see, he hates the world. . . So he writes these beautiful poems.’

His voice sinks to a hush.

‘And then he withholds them from the public.’

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Filed under Film, Literature and the cinema, Poetry

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