Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Je suis Moliere...

...before he realized his gift and only wanted to do tragedy.

I just watched the French film, "Moliere", and first thought was it's "Shakespeare in Love" lite...and just to be clear, I really like "Shakes..." Even own it. And watch it when I need a kick in the pants to write. I think the final image is one of the greatest depictions of a writer's -- hell, ANY artist's -- reality: Walking alone, across a wide, pristine beach, the only marks on it from where your feet have tread, advancing upon an unknown wilderness.

The set-up in "Moliere" is very similar -- he's a broke lout who's great at comedy but wants to write tragedy because that's "the investigation of the soul." He winds up in a situation where life becomes art when art affects life, love is gained and lost and repaired in ways not expected, and he becomes one of France's greatest playwrights. But what struck me most was a simple exchange between Moliere and the woman he loves, long after she's proven to prefer his comedy and told him his tragedy sounds like a braying goat.

"Unhappiness has comic aspects one should never underestimate."
"How could I joke about that which makes me weep? This type of comedy does not exist."
"Well, then... invent it."

Which he did.

Of his works, I've read "La Malade Imaginaire" (The Imaginary Invalid) and "Tartuffe", in English translations. I've been working a little on my French but will punch that up; I hope someday to read them in their original language.

I hope some day to be as good as him. Better get my butt in gear.

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