Would it not isolate the most objectionable aspect of enforced convalescence from corrective surgery, as opposed to a continu-ing ailment, to cite its languour? Authorities in these matters, who warn of depression, may be groping for a clinical term, for a truly tire-some imposition. In any case it becomes difficult to tell them apart.
It isn't so much that we wish to be doing something other than lying still but exercising, changing our dressings but limiting our bathing, adhering to drug protocols but also not relying on them. No, actually, this is pretty full-time fun. It's that our mind gathers focus on what would give it the most peace, short of an outbreak of the empiricism virus in the Tea Party. But there you are. Very sweet voices, peculiarly enough, in imagination as much as expression, come to the table first.
Very sweet voices, which can remark with delight in the rushing of water in the sunshine, the cooling of wineglasses in the flickering shade, the flexing of delicate wings to free, the flash of a tulip after a long interval of rain. These voices do exist, one enjoys being reminded, and they are fundamental to our hunger to be restored to the world.
These voices describe the essential scheme for our recovery, in mode as well as in hunger. A protract-ed persistence of acute inconvenience, we find, is better addressed with a philosophical tolerance than with impatience or disdain. It rained a long time, we are told; but somehow we knew it would come to this.
Is it not telling, that the prisoner's escape in Jean Renoir's La grande illusion is celebrated by his delight in the colour of the eyes in a child of his enemy? This is not an argument, but in that way a note of thanks to some bloggers from France. You and I, seeing this tissue, naturally appreciate its celebration of the growing of things for delight. Its artisanship responds to the uncollectibly capti-vating, and it mattered not for whose house, but for the loving eye.
As I lay reading these blogs, I was drawn back to the film I wanted to praise on the morning of my entry into hospital. In them I read nothing less than what distin-guished The 400 Blows, in the eye of contemporary film-maker Jacques Rivette, its best critic:
here and there, an almost unbearable force results from the constant use of understatement, and the refusal of eloquence, of violence, of explanation, giving each image a pulse, an inner quiver. Rivette summarises these virtues, as we all would, as simplicity, but also as genuinely French. I couldn't say, but I know where healing voices are.
and Marcel Moussy
The 400 Blows
David Denby, editor
Cahiers du Cinéma, #95
Grove Press, 1969©
ii, vi Valéry Lorenzo
iii, vii Elisabeth Baysset