Sunday, May 6, 2007

Looking for paradise

The 2003 movie about Paul Gauguin's becoming a painter, "Paradise Found," has for me too much the feel of a History channel biography to be a "feature film," but I nevertheless enjoyed watching it last night. Directed by Mario Andreacchio and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Gauguin and Nastassja Kinski as his wife Mette, the movie tells the story of Gauguin's finding in 1890's Tahiti the impetus for his symbol-laden art and culminates affectingly in the painting of his masterpiece, "D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?"

I was struck by Sutherland's over-voice narration of the movie's final frames:
I enjoy the day without a care in the world.
I had been seduced at one point
by this virgin land and its people,

and I have returned because
to create something new
it is necessary to go
back to the infancy of humanity,
face-to-face with the mystery of our origins:

Where do we come from?
What are we?
Where are we going?
These final words inspire me to try to think this way about my own attempts to create something new, personal, and fully mine as regards my "relationship with the Cosmos," rather than to follow a path blazed by others. I at least have the faith to believe that a sincere attempt will not go unrewarded.

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