08 August 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Summertime (1955)


Just in time for August, another treat with Katharine Hepburn: Summertime (1955, David Lean). And exactly as it happens with many more classic - and contemporary - movies, there are several ways how you can read the plot. Our mission is emancipatory, so on that we shall focus...

1) A woman traveling solo to a country she does not know without speaking a word in its language. Already daring.

2) She is not young. Or breathtakingly beautiful. Or overly confident. But she's very excited to be doing things and going places.

3) She meets a person. And has lots of fun with them. While nobody is promising marriage or happily ever after.

4) After that, she takes a decision to stop a relationship that is not promising anything more than she has already seen. She leaves. To go back to her life. Because she has a life. For real.   

Obviously, all of this happens in a sauce of she wasn't really living until she met the right man, but - as we did with Roman Holiday (1953), which has a very very similar narrative - let's treat the love interest as a driver of empowerment and self-discovery instead of being a prince charming and a savior. Because in both of these movies (both set in Italy, curiously enough, the paragon of loose morals for 1950's Hollywood, apparently), the protagonists have romantic fun and then move on. With a bittersweet break-up, yes, but with little doubts about what they have to do and where are they going.

And before most of the above happens, this quote:
"Renato De Rossi: Listen to me! Stop behaving like a schoolgirl! What my wife does is not your business. What signora Fiorini does is not your business. You come here and what you do? You hide in a gondola and you sigh “Oh, Venice is so beautiful, so romantic! Oh, these Italians, so beautiful, so romantic! Such children!” and you dream of meeting someone you want: young, rich, witty, brilliant, and unmarried, of course! But me, I’m a shopkeeper, not young, not rich, not witty, not brilliant and married, of course. But I am a man, and you are a woman. But you see…it’s “wrong” it’s “wicked” it’s this, it’s that. You’re like a hungry child who is given ravioli to eat. “No!” you say, “I want beef steak!” My dear girl…you are hungry. Eat the ravioli.
Jane Hudson: I’m not that hungry.
Renato De Rossi: We are all that hungry, Miss Hudson."
Realizing your most authentic needs and fulfilling them is very important. And sometimes other people might help with that.

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