Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Latest Obssession

My latest obssession is with Marlon Brando.

The obsession started with watching A Streetcar Named Desire, and lead to my reading Brando's autobiography; Songs My Mother Taught Me. I got a lot out of the read, and thought it was great-- could not put it down. My Netflix queue is riddled with Brando's work.

I've watched two movies from that list (aside from Streetcar) so far, and they are Mutiny on the Bounty and Last Tango in Paris.

I liked Mutiny and thought it was good. I now understand the fascination of men with this film, as it portrays gorgeous Tahiti, with gorgeous topless Tahitian women, who find it an insult to not sleep with them. Doesn't get any better than this for a man, right? I personally had my own reason for enjoying the film other than it's a well-made film in a lot of ways-- I enjoyed Brando as Lt. Fletcher Christian, a down-to-earth and tongue-in-cheek kind of guy who is dashing, as well as endearing.

Last Tango in Paris wasn't quite so simple a viewing. The film was strange and with its NC-17 rating, it involves a lot of nudity and quite disturbing sex scenes between a 47-year-old Brando and the 20-year-old heroine (played by Maria Schneider). Both characters seem to be equally cryptic in carrying a relationship with each other based on sex. They don't know each other's names or anything else about each other. One scene involves butter and perhaps the strangest sex scene in the history of cinema in my world. Brando himself wrote that he didn't know what Tango was really about, and I guess that should make me as a viewer feel better. The film has very little dialogue that makes any kind of logical sense and even less action. The story hardly moves along, it just gets shoved into the next gear, and leaves you scratching your head and wondering "what was that all about?"

Aside from movies Brando has starred in, I also became interested in films and books Brando saw and read. I am going to see The Battle of Algiers, a film Brando enjoyed for its presentation of the plight of a people to gain freedom, a theme he always enjoyed. I've also started reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, because Brando mentioned he read that and he was also in a film, Apocalypse Now, based on the book.

I've got plenty of Brando-related stuff to keep me busy for a while.

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