Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday Night Movie Night
Tonight we watched Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause. I hadn't seen it for a long, long time- at least 15 years--at least since I was a disgruntled adolescent. I wondered what I would think about t now-from the perspective of motherhood and adulthood.
My gosh- it's a powerful movie. The emotions captured in the film, particularly through James Dean's performance are so intense and so raw. His body, his every movement, aches with his internal conflict. He doesn't simply sit on the couch--he contorts himself with anguish to sit on the sofa, and once there remains restless with unfulfillment. I found the search of the teenagers for family and tribe to be so akin to my own experiences.
Particularly interesting is that this movie is not made in the upheaval of the 60's...but rather a decade earlier. So many people express a sort of longing to return to the "glory years" of America- the 1950's-where everything was neat and tidy and people were more moral, etc. , but this movie poignantly depicts the anger and isolation which was just simmering in the homes of America in the wake of the Great War. Out of the 50's grow the Beats and the Abstract Expressionists. Out of the 50's explode the 60's.
It seems too, that so much of the conflict depicted in Rebel Without a Cause--is conflict which still plagues us as a nation. We remain a nation of broken, wounded people. So many homes--even "good" ones- like those of Jim Stark and Judy in the film- are full of disconnected and wounded people. Parents still waffle between being totally authoritarian (Judy's father), and trying to be their children's pals(Jim's father). Many parents through divorce or through work schedules have essentially abandoned their children leaving them to find their own way (Plato's parents).