Showing posts from October, 2013

The Man Without Desire

watching the film in the mediatheque Last week, I went to try out the new mediatheque at the National Media Museum .  The film I watched made a huge impact on me.  It was a silent film from 1923 starring Ivor Novello, called The Man Without Desire . It reminded me of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales, so it was interesting that the director, Adrian Brunel, based the story on an idea from an Irish playwright, Monckton Hoffe.  It also seems to draw inspiration from a poem of Robert Browning's,  "A Toccata of Galuppi's", a stanza of which is quoted in the film: As for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom and drop, Here on earth they bore the fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop: What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?  (1) Like a true fairy tale, The Man Without Desire  can be read many ways, but as it contains themes especially dear to me, those are the ones I will concentrate on in my review. The plot An Englishman

What Plato really said about love...

Like most people, I'd heard of Platonic love, but I didn't really know what it was.  I had some vague idea it was about being "just friends".  I also knew that Oscar Wilde defended himself against charges of homosexuality by invoking some ancient ideal of a noble friendship between an older and younger man, but I didn't really know what that was about either, or that the two were related. Things only changed the other week when I was reading a book about Leonardo and Michelangelo - The Lost Battles by Jonathan Jones.  It says that Michelangelo defended himself against gossip over his male/male friendships by invoking Plato's Symposium. It also quotes a poem by Michelangelo, which says: Well, alas!  How will it be heard? the chaste desire that burns the interior of my heart by those who in others always see themselves? This certainly struck a chord with me, and is very relevant for Carlo and Tammo's coming relationship in the next episode of my Angelio tr

Apollo & Diana in Paris

                                 There seems to have been something almost mythical about my recent trip to Paris.  Three days.  Three Apollos.  Three Dianas.  The sun god and the moon goddess.  And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Apollos were overtly on show, while the Dianas kept creeping up on me. The first Apollo was that of the Palais Garnier, home of the National Opera of Paris, and also the Phantom of the Opera.  Apollo stands on the roof, holding up his golden lyre in his role as god of music and poetry.  And the whole building - inside and out - is a fairytale temple to the arts of opera and ballet.        Interestingly, the most magical rooms for me were the little circular Salons de la Lune and du Soleil (sun and moon rooms), where stars fall down from the ceiling and you feel like you're in the portal to an enchanted world. Apollo turned up again as patron of the arts in the Louvre, and the  Galerie d'Apollon (Apollo Gallery).  Again, this room celebrates artists of ma