Saturday, October 26, 2013

Les Miserables

The purpose of art is to raise your senses to another, higher level, to get the brain peculating and become more aware of the higher values that this existence has to offer. Art can be visual, oral even employing all the senses. In the end the purpose of art is pleasurable although sometimes that pleasure is painful to come by.

He was sitting alone on this bright day that had a pleasant Autumn feel to it. He usually didn't mind solitude in fact one could say he enjoyed it. Yet, this day he was restless. He tried to read but couldn't keep his concentration on the written page. Television or radio offered nothing that interested him. He had a DVD of Les Miserables and thought of putting it on but he rejected the idea at first. He had seen the play, he considered it an Opera, many decades ago, and the movie just last year. He remembered liking it but considered it too heavy for his present state of mind. However, since nothing else could satisfy his restfulness he decided to play it. From the very start he was mesmerized by the visual beauty even as it displayed degradation of the human body, mind and spirit. As the story unfolded it was as if he was meeting old friends once more. He watched in horror as Fantine was changed from a proud beautiful young lady struggling to support her miserable life into a dirty, mutilated prostitute who knew no happiness only sorrow. He watched as Valjean was pursued relentlessly by Javert an officer of the law who was perverted in his understanding of justice without any mercy. He was completely in awe of the Bishop who turned Valjean into a loving caring person by his generosity and love.

It was not only the characters that enveloped him but the physical surroundings. The stark differences, benefits those of wealth enjoyed over those who only by the accident of birth were born into poverty which led to despair eventually robbing their spirits of the desire for the ultimate good. They had to survive and it wasn't easy in these surroundings. While the story was about ideals it mainly was about love and hate. Love takes many forms. Love between parents and children. Love of country. Love of the life one is living. Love of doing good. Love of ideals like freedom and liberty. The hate is evident as displayed by Javert for any one who might break the law he loved so much even if it was unfair which was not his fault. This is the way he was taught and believed to be true. No mercy! They, the lawbreakers were all no good and were to be hated. Hate of the poor for the rich and of course the rich's hatred for the poor. Instead of sharing which is the higher ideal the poor wanted what the rich had and the rich had no intention of giving any of their surplus to anyone, keeping all for one's self and estate.

By the time the movie had come to the end he was sobbing as death was the final release and all were really together even though they seemingly were being separated. Finally the collective community, all those who were lost in the battle for freedom were united in a glorious finale with voices raised on high, voices and instruments blending together in a great crescendo of victory of the human spirit over injustices of every kin because of the freedom that love gives all who chose to love. The one line that stuck in his mind as the final credits rolled on the screen was Victor Hugo's line, "To love another person is to see the face of god.".
He noticed that the line didn't say to be loved rather "To Love..." which got him thinking. He wasn't sure of the meaning although he had an idea. He did some research and found the explanation from Loren Paulsson's bog that touched him:

There’s something about the world the characters inhabit and the way they relate to one another.Because “love is everlasting,” those who love do so in the context of something greater than themselves. Something that has meaning beyond their lifetimes. And it inspires hope that real redemption is possible, not based on accumulated merit or happy endings but in relation to something more, so that—in Valjean's case—there's more to being human than survival—for Marius and Cosette—love is possible despite the loss that happens along the way and—in Eponine’s case—even unrequited love has meaning and dignity.

To make it clear Cosette is Fantine's child who Valjean took under his care. Valjean saved Marius who married Cosette and Eponine is a beautiful character who loved Marius.

The two hours and thirty-eight minutes of this story was well spent. Not only was his senses of sound and sight flooded with good things but his mind had great  ideas and his spirit was filled with hope. Art fulfilled it's purpose. As he looked out his window the greens were greener, reds redder and the sky bluer.


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