Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poulenc and Joseph Campbell re' ROPE

Each of the three movements of "Perpetual Movement" (the first movement is a recurring theme in Rope) ends on an unresolved note, almost as if the needle were lifted from the record in midsong. I'm reminded of Joseph Campbell's observation that 'life is like a movie in which we enter after it has begun, hence spending our time catching up on the story; and from which we then get called away before we can find out the end.' (Paraphrase from memory.) Rope is like that, too. The film begins just AFTER the murder occurs (we hear a scream and then the scene cuts from an exterior shot to the interior of the apartment), and then the film commences piecing together the events that led up to the crime. At film's end we are left to ponder Brandon and Phillip's fate (post movie), even we know they are, as Rupert says, "going to die."

BTW, I recommend Poulenc's piano music to all y'all. I have the Naxos label version, with Olivier Cazal at the piano. This is some of my favorite music, and I suppose I can thank Alfred Hitchcock for turning me on to it. If you like Eric Satie (his "Trois Gymnopedies", movement #1, helps "My Dinner with Andre" come to a fitting end), you'll like Poulenc.

Joel Gunz

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