Lastnight I watched Hemingway‘s (1957 film version) of The Sun Also Rises (originally titled Fiesta) with Ava Garner, Errol Flynn, and Tyrone Power. And while I have already addressed the literary merit of this work in Conchita’s Open Book Blog…I wanted to take a little different slant here.
To take a brilliant work such as this and boil it down to a few sentences doesn’t seem fair, but as the point of this entry isn’t the plot itself, my self-edited summary will have to suffice…
On the surface this is a story about three men in love with one, very charismatic fun-loving bombshell (played by Gardner). Taking place in the 20’s, following the war it is a time of great sexual-expression, particularly for women which we witness, played-out between the main characters. An additional evocative caveat to the story; each of the three men have been rendered impotent either physically or emotionally….essentially placing each at the cruel mercy of this freewheeling and extremely sensual woman.
The plot painfully details the increasingly destructive emotional tension between unexpressed sexual desire and rampant seemingly random sexual freedom….further complicated by what would socially be considered a turn-of-the-tables, e.g. the woman as sexual provocateur. The common thread for all involved parties being: EMOTIONS…strong, raw, and explosive…
Emotions rule these characters’ behavior…fueled by a steady stream of alcohol…they bounce through Europe trying desperately to conquer one another. Passion…fist fights…and life-threatening bull-fights ensue. The story is a tragedy really, a magnified attempt to relate the destructive capacity of our own emotions…and a magnificent study of the darker-side of the human heart.
I have a favorite line…where two of the characters are about to toast and another, The Count (a minor character)…who has viewed this emotional-showdown as a spectator, suggests against a toast insisting that:
This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don’t want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste. (Chapter 7, pg. 59)
It is a concise and succinct warning:
BE CAREFUL THAT THE VERY DESIRE THAT INSPIRED, DOES NOT DESTROY!
And yet it cannot be helped can it? It is inevitable…when we allow our desire to develop, unchecked…when we desire what cannot be…we set ourselves and those we love up for destruction. I had a friend say to me once:
You have to understand, if you ‘go hard’…you will always fall hard!
It is simple deductive common-sense and yet…we all do it…at one time or another in our lives: we desire the unattainable…we reach for destruction…knowingly…and…we get burned…we suffer…I suppose the bright-side being that…in life…we also have the capacity to LEARN…grow…evolve…even develop through these necessary experiences…and while acceptance isn’t always easy…I have found that it is necessary for happiness, peace…and to the full enjoyment of…a good glass of wine.
Salute to Hemingway!
Just pondering along tonight I guess…see you tomorrow, xxx c.