Saturday, 10 February 2018

In August last year, I decided to write about every film Clint Eastwood has directed. This project lasted just one night before I abandoned it, but in that night I wrote briefly, as I do, about three films, all serendipitously beginning with the letter "B". Maybe this is something I'll return to.

Breezy | 1973

A romance complicated by nothing and everything. A teenager with flared-jeans and a guitar, a middle-aged businessman with an empty house and an unused fireplace. Preconceptions evaporate, love blossoms. He gives her an ocean and they’re dwarfed by the waves; she’s drained by the day and he carries her to bed. Their love moves with the tide, back and forth, vast and tempestuous. Sometimes he’s too old, sometimes she’s too young. Tennis and hitchhiking, a vodka martini and a Shirley Temple, an age gap, a black cloud. But he lit the fire for her. There was no warmth until she arrived. She makes his house a home.

Bird | 1988

A tragic life remembered from a hospital bed, an extraordinary artistry rendered in fragments and destroyed by addiction, a lack of balance, a spirit drained. Charlie Parker is already the virtuoso, the myth, the man in decline. The physicality of jazz embodied by a man for whom failure is both unendurable and inevitable. His family is in ruins, his old haunts have been turned into strip clubs, jazz makes way for rock and roll. He’s never on time but people won’t wait for him anymore. His art doesn’t sell. It’s over. The end of a scene. The end of Bird.

The Bridges of Madison County | 1995

An all-consuming love-affair embalmed by letters, diaries, photographs; souvenirs locked away and found again years later by adult children who never knew. A nostalgic reverence, a memory so beautiful because it almost made it but never did. A bridge between eras. A time before and a time after, and a brief window in which they’re together, unsustainably in love. He stands in the rain waiting for her. She finds shelter in her husband’s truck. A film of objects and (in)actions that shape their world, imbued with the ghost of lost love. And then a shared cremation: two lovers together again, under the bridge, forever free.

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