Jackie (2016) is about grief, pain, hurt and faith during hard times, serious, strong themes. Former US President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The film focuses on the grief of Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy, who is interviewed by a journalist, to get beneath the surface of her grief. an uncomfortable interview as far as Jackie is concerned. Jackie is grieving and is jaded by much of what has been written about her already. This journalist is sensitive enough to accommodate much of Jackie’s concerns. The interview scenes, sometime after the assassination, ooze with Jackie’s grief, as well as the scenes immediately after the assassination, filmed indoors, at a replica of the White House, and some outdoors, a cemetery. The film does have the look of budget constraints unfortunately, but Natalie Portman gets under the grief of the former first lady and is so natural in conveying the mannerisms and emotional hurt that she morphs seamlessly into the role. She is ably supported by Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, Richard E Grant as Bill Walton, and John Hurt as the Catholic priest. Jackie confides in the priest over the untimely death. It is here that the priest encourages Jackie that God has not left her amiss, that taken in the right way, she is a symbol for the nation. Here is a glimmer of hope for a movie of some somber mood but a story of value and performances of authenticity.
This transformation is a sight for starved eyes for the fascinating kind, but which reminds me that humans are never meant to be like their animal, be that insect, neighbours, a sobering reminder of our place in the world. I do not like gross, but there is some point to it all. We are not like animals, we are not like insects, as wonderful as these are. We are human.
The diverse environment he lived in caused him to travel and go wandering. He was a seeker of truth and believed there must be more behind the diversity of his background. The oasis brings the older Gurdijieff on the verge of a breakthrough to find what he is looking for. Yet Brundle becomes the difference between what makes insects insects and humans humans. The two do not mix. Which brings up the nature of the two different species and how they can never quite merge successfully. They were made to be separate. Perhaps this could look like God saying, come back to your senses, as some things you are doing are out of whack. The one who wishes to change the world may become the victim of his own ambition. Ambitious drive, and progress, has become rather tragic in the end. Yet Gurdijieff sought so much more.
Meetings with Remarkable Men is about a person’s search for truth, inner meaning, the hidden realities behind life and things. Meetings with Remarkable Men was based on a book by G.I. Gurdjieff, who was born in Alexandropol in the then Russian Empire, about the middle to late 1800’s. His father was Greek and his mother Armenian. I have not read the book, but what I gather is that Gurdjieff held several ideas and some of these are explored in the film, but what counts most for me are not his variegated ideas, but the one central, configuring desire that impels to explore the nether regions for more. I find many of his ideas off-putting but the driving force and the search is what makes his journey relatable.
The films directed by Peter Brook, a British theatre as well as film director, now in his nineties, are challenging to find for streaming or on demand in my vicinity. His first feature film was in 1953, The Beggar’s Opera, so its age may explain its evasiveness in the market. He followed this by several art house films which seemed quite fascinating as subjects, The Lord of the Flies the best known, which can be easily accessed where I am. The other film I can find of his is Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979). Not that I had been looking for Peter Brook films to watch, but I happened to read about the film first and thought it interesting and even relatable so looked him up and discovered more.