Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Fisher King

A twelve year old probably doesn't understand Terry Gilliam so well. Or at least, that's what I would assume at 29. I saw a trailer for 'The Fisher King' when I was 12, and was so impatient to see it-- it was rated R-- I bought the movie novelization, and read it intently during study hall in school. I loved the story, and re-read it, envisioning the story the best I could. It may well have been borne out of a great like for Robin Williams, or perhaps of a budding love of Monty Python, but I wrung my hands until the title was released on VHS, at which point, I immediately watched it. My parents reasoned that I'd already read the book-- and I assured them there was no sex--so they allowed me to watch it. All the same, I remained scandalized at the full-frontal nude scene of Robin Williams' although to his credit, his intense body hair obscured anything obscene that a twelve year old would have no business seeing.

The video was returned upon its due date, and over the years I rented it again and again, finally owning the copy in college. I started using it as a litmus test of sorts with friends and boyfriends; it remained my favorite movie-- was it New York? The composition of shots?-- and it became important that people knew it. It's like that scene in 'High Fidelity'; it's not what you're like. It's what you like.

The scene above is my favorite scene of the movie, or maybe of any movie. It's because the scene imbued me with a sense of wonder at twelve that still persists today. I saw it the first time and just wanted to go to Grand Central Terminal, where it was filmed. And everytime I pass through it today, I think of that scene. My real life experiences in that space are nowhere as beautiful or seemingly effortless, but I still look up at that clock in the Main Concourse and think of that scene.

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