Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Evening: Conflict, Regret, Resolution, Peace

I have recently gone through losing my mother first to dementia and then to death. I of course felt that my experiences were unique. And probably universal, although knowing how exactly is a little difficult. The movie, Evening, proves that lots of other people have probably lived through similar situations. The fights between siblings (just too much tension builds up). The last gasp of incredible focus and energy that comes from saying good-bye. The memories that both warm and invade almost every moment. The tears. The regrets. The guilt. The love. The amazing ability of the mind to worry about mistakes and to grasp redemption and resolution and come to peace.

I was lucky enough to see an early preview of Evening at the beautiful, restored art deco theater, the Smith Rafael Center in San Rafael, California, also the home of the California Film Institute, sponsor of the Mill Valley Film Festival. The cast of this film is truly amazing: Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter, Natasha Richardson, Meryl Street and her daughter, Mamie Gummer; Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Eileen Atkins, Patrick Wilson, and Hugh Dancy. Just to see all these incredible actors in one film was a wonderful experience.

The director, Lajos Koltai (formerly a cinematographer of films such as Being Julia) and one of the writers, Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winner for his novel, The Hours, were on hand for Q&A after the film. The film was inspired by Susan Minot's beloved novel.

Asked if the film is a "chick flick," both Cunningham and Koltai said, emphatically, "No!" I agree. It explores universal conflicts that come up between parents and children, between siblings, and between memories, yearnings, and a desire to feel that we've lived every moment to its fullest and made the best decisions that we could have made, that we loved well and lived well.

A lovely film. It will be coming out in theaters on June 29. Try to see it.

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