Ah infidelity, that age-old device.
So of course it’s no surprise in Intermezzo (1936), when the older famous violinist, Holger – happily married with children he adores, something that is established in the first few minutes of the film or so it felt – falls in love with Anita, his daughter’s youthful piano teacher. It’s the “second spring” trajectory that has been rehashed again and again before and since this film, and yet!
I found that the portrayal of both parties was rather sensitive and well done: although it does adhere to the good ol’ “Older Man Falls For Young Woman & Rediscovers His Love of Life/Living, Leaving His Wife & Children For His Second Spring” trajectory (… spoiler alert?), if there’s one word I can use to describe the way the affair and the characters are portrayed in this film, it’s that it’s incredibly generous. Holger, a famous violinist and quite absent father (due to his tours) returns home and promptly falls in love with his daughter’s piano teacher (while she’s playing the piano, of course). It’s not particularly inventive, but Gustaf Molander did a pretty fine job with character development as the relationship progressed in the film, especially with Anita’s character (Ingrid Bergman). Gösta Ekman (Holger) is spectacularly expressive, cementing straightaway that Holger loves his family, adoring especially his daughter, and I enjoyed this expressiveness quite a bit throughout the film. I’ve read a couple reviews saying it was a bit on the slow side overall, but I never felt it was a drag to watch.
OK, actual spoiler alert coming up ahead, so if you have yet to watch the film (it’s from 1936, so there’s been plenty of chance to watch it since its release) and would like to watch it without knowing what happens (even if it’s painfully obvious with multiple foreshadowing elements spoken by the characters – mostly by Margit, actually), skip the following paragraph below the cut.
As we pass another decade in the 21st century, what future are we headed towards? Who knows, but Yuval Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (also on Overdrive as an e-book & e-audiobook) looks at some of the hot topics & issues to worry about that the 21st century brought in its wake and attempts to untangle them so that we can think about these issues with more clarity, less clouded by our illogical emotional responses than before. While there are some speculations as to what the future might bring, that is covered to a much greater extent in Homo Deus (while Sapiens covers the history of humankind), and the primary focus of 21 Lessons is definitely on the present. Harari covers such topics as the possible/imminent future irrelevance of people as individuals (and the consequences of irrelevance in that future society replete with AI), to terrorism and war, to religion and fake news, before tackling what one can do in light of all this – actually let’s be real, when I say tackles, I mean Harari kind of dismantles what we might first think of as the solutions: Education, Meaning, and Meditation.
There’s been a flood of feminist titles being published in the past couple of years throughout 2018 & 2019, many of which have been fueled by so much anger accumulated over so many years that it has bubbled over and had to find an outlet, be written out and find an audience. A couple titles listed below are quite new (e.g. Burn It Down edited by Lilly Dancyger, Seven Necessary Sins for Girls and Women by Mona Eltahawy), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the floodgates remain open with more and more titles being published over the next year or two at least, but all these books about women’s anger, the reasons behind the anger, what we can do to make things better for this generation and the next – I can’t help but wonder what will come of reading these titles. There’s a part of me that remains cautious while reading through them. I’ve made my way through portions of some of them, and come away feeling incensed and frustrated, but not really feeling quite incendiary or powerful because of being fueled by anger, necessarily. Perhaps that comes at the end.