Monday, January 21, 2008

rainbow's end

I'm reclaiming Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The beautifully sad 1961 film has been pigeonholed, painted over and made into something it's not. I can promise you this: it's not the stuff of cheap photo purses in Chinatown, it's not wallpaper for co-eds' dorm rooms, it's not an early chick flick.

The original novella, written by Truman Capote (arguably one of the weirdest damn fellas of the 20th century), is a sort of autobiography (Holly Golightly's real name? Lulumae. Capote's mother's name? Lillie Mae.), maybe also the document of a gender crisis, and certainly an intricate story of those things most complicated: of sadness, of letting-be, of growing up, of not-knowing.

I saw the film for the first time when I was very young--probably too young. I certainly didn't understand Holly's professional life, and I was terrified by the scene where a drunken partier cries into a mirror. I was old enough, though, to be charmed by Holly. It wasn't classic opening scene, it wasn't the diamonds or the beehive or the long dress.

It was the Holly who wasn't sure who drew me in. The Holly who sings on her fire escape and who answers her door wearing an eye-mask and ear-plugs and who refuses to give her cat a name.

This is a movie that's grown with me, and that I've grown with. I didn't understand how sad Holly was, because I was too busy looking for a why. Now I'm starting to understand that it's the lack of Why that can make us saddest, and that maybe this whole movie is about a girl trying to make her own Why (there's no shortage of men trying to do it for her).

Now, peep this:

"The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?"

Two drifters, off to see the world...

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