|Bando De Cá
Tudo e um pouco a mais
segunda-feira, 4 de julho de 2011 posted by RENATO DOHO | 6:32 PM
quinta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2010 PEÇA SEM NOME
Texto escrito décadas atrás. Sem revisões (a vontade é muita de modificar tudo), nem mesmo de eventuais erros gramaticais. Nem é peça pois faltam descrições de cenário e direção de cena. O mais curioso é que ao ler acabei me perguntando se eu mesmo tinha escrito isso. Quase tudo, tirando o início, não lembrava de nada. Provável ter sido escrito de uma só vez, sem reler. E sim, é ruim (e chata), mas o que importa aqui é o registro.
Noite num quarto de hotel barato. Chuva lá fora. Al está se enxugando de um banho quente, enquanto Rita lê um livro estirada na cama.
- O que você lê, querida?
- "Asas Cortadas" do Bradley.
- Que Bradley?
- Richard Bradley, aquele escritor que se suicidou ano passado.
- Ah, me lembro. É bom?
- Interessante. Retrata de forma bem depressiva a história de uma garota que é forçada a cuidar do filho gerado de um estupro, suas dificuldades e a relação esquisita com ele até a idade de 20 anos.
- Meu Deus! Por que ela não abortou?
- Ia contra suas crenças. Matar uma vida, você sabe.
- É. E por que até aos 20 anos? O filho morre?
- A história é em flash-back. Quem narra são os protagonistas da história que recordam de certos fatos e vão montando uma visão aproximada do que foi a vida dela. É como um "Cidadão Kane". Até agora já li os relatos do filho, da mãe dela e do próprio estuprador que era um tio distante. Ainda não sei do que ela morreu, só sei que está morta quando o livro começa.
Enquanto Rita relata a história Al se veste e se senta numa cadeira na frente da cama para calçar suas meias.
- É, bem interessante. Esse Bradley não escreveu aquele livro sobre um personagem que só existia nas lembranças de certas pessoas que confundiam ele com várias outras?
- Hum, hum. Era um inconsciente coletivo que só no final você percebia que ele não existia, era um projeção de sonhos, ódios, desejos, frustrações e alegrias das pessoas que um detetive entrevista para solucionar um caso antigo.
Al deita na cama ao lado de Rita e a abraça.
- Pena que não teremos novas histórias dele, era um escritor promissor.
- Só tinha 25 anos.
- Morreu por quê? Amor? Dinheiro?
- Dizem que era porque ele não suportou a rejeição dos pais ao descobrirem que ele era homossexual.
- Ele era bicha! Quer dizer, homossexual?
- Era, por quê?
- Ah, será que é uma condição básica para ser um bom escritor ou um artista talentoso? Wilde, Tchaikovsky, Dean...
- Que nada! Temos tantos artistas homossexuais bons quanto heterossexuais. A arte ultrapassa as preferências sexuais.
- Tem o fato da sensibilidade. Parece um espírito feminino em corpo de homem.
- Quem sabe?
- Acho que vou largar você e ficar com um garotão por aí pra ver se tenho uma idéia genial para terminar o roteiro.
- Deixa de besteira. Gosto de você assim: [altera a voz para uma mais poética que enfatiza o tempo de fala] sensível e másculo, artista e amante.
- Totalmente fake!
Os dois riem e se beijam.
O mesmo quarto já de manhã. Rita dorme e Al está sentado numa escrivaninha, escrevendo com lápis algumas cenas do roteiro.
- [para si mesmo em voz baixa] Quando você vai voltar, então? Vou ter que esperar muito? [pausa] As coisas não deviam ficar assim como estão. Precisamos dar um fim nessa confusão que virou nossa vida. Não vou esperar você para sempre. E nem eu estarei aqui para ser esperado. [pausa]
Rita acorda suavemente e sem que Al perceba o admira trabalhando, indo por trás dele sorrateiramente.
- [para si mesmo] Acho que isso é um adeus, não? Poderia ser um até logo.
- Quem sabe um bom dia?
Rita o abraça por trás e o beija, Al é surpreendido.
- Amor, bom dia. Te acordei?
- Que nada.
Al tira seus óculos e esfrega os olhos.
- Ah, esse roteiro não termina! Os dois não querem se separar e ficam ali no vai não vai. É torturante dar um fim para eles.
- Quem sabe um final em aberto?
- É, mas eu queria pessoalmente saber o que vai acontecer, nem eu sei. É que eu gostei deles e lá dentro quero que eles fiquem juntos, mas devido ao que eles passaram ficaria piegas.
- Que piegas! O que a gente já passou foi piegas? O dia que você se declarou foi piegas?
- Se você for ver pelo lado racional...
Rita vira a cadeira e se senta de frente para Al e o beija.
- Não tem lado racional. É amor, só isso.
Entre beijos e carinhos eles conversam.
- Sabe que você podia escrever também? Um roteiro em dupla.
- Não, ia ficar "muito piegas".
- Ah, não é assim. É que no cinema fica tudo mais exposto e estranho. O público não chega a conhecer profundamente o personagem porque só sabe certas coisas sobre ele, então não sabe reagir diante de certas atitudes dele, ele vai de acordo com a sua própria experiência de vida, se identificando ou não. Por isso ele às vezes acha uma coisa piegas ou forçada já que não correspondeu as atitudes que ele vivencia.
- Mas nem todos acham isso. Tem gente que adora certos filmes e outros odeiam.
- Acho que aí vem uma questão de bom senso, compreensão e experiência. O público distingue o que pode ser bom ou ruim, certo ou errado e pesa as consequências. Se ele for experiente e perceber uma sinceridade por parte do autor ele se deixa levar pela emoção e compartilha essa sensação com o autor, mesmo outros achando piegas ou forçado. Já a compreensão vem do fato de que nem sempre a emoção lançada pelo autor vem de encontro com a sua, então você percebe a emoção e a avalia estética ou emocionalmente e a partir daí vê que existem outras pessoas que se identificam com aquilo e sendo uma boa obra você reconhece seu valor, mesmo não a admirando profundamente como outras pessoas.
- Lindo. Acho que é por aí. Só não sei até que ponto essa compreensão tem que se estender.
- Aí vai de cada um. E sempre existe o senso real das coisas.
- Coisa que poucos percebem.
- Você percebe.
- Quer dizer que agora você diz isso. E quando fomos ver "Retratos De Uma Solidão" e você odiou o filme enquanto eu chorei bastante e adorei?
- É como eu disse. Eu sei quem era o autor, conheço o diretor que é também o roteirista e ele é uma pessoa horrível: falsa, gananciosa, convencida, de caráter fraco e traiçoeiro. Ele faz um filme todo sentimental e amoroso e eu devo achar isso bom? Todos os valores são colocados ali de forma oportuneira, manipuladora e nada pessoal.
- Mas, a maioria que viu não conhece ele e aí, como fica?
- Deviam tentar conhecer. Temos que procurar saber quem são os autores de tudo quando vemos uma obra, seja ela política, artística, social e humanística. Senão chegaremos ao dia que admiraremos políticos corruptos que fazem alguma coisa, artistas falsos que dizem belas palavras ou cantam belas músicas, ladrões que financiam obras comunitárias, etc, enquanto as pessoas de boa intenção e verdadeiro intento serão postas um pouco de lado. Sempre se diz que o diabo é sedutor, que os grandes amantes são aqueles que sabem onde devem puxar as cordas das conquistadas.
- Me lembra a Georgia. Como ela é facilmente manipulada pelo Fausto. Ele todo atencioso e carinhoso ao lado dela e por trás é um conquistador barato. Sabia que ele até tentou me cantar?
- Fausto? Como foi?
Rita se senta na escrivaninha enquanto Al se apoia com os cotovelos nela, ficando Rita no meio de seus braços.
- Foi na festa na casa da Monique. Ele veio todo manso, com aquela cara de quem tem um segredo que só você e ele sabem e querem continuar em silêncio. Sabe, cumplicidade? Como se dizendo mentalmente: eu sei que você quer transar comigo e que seu marido não percebe, mas eu sei satisfazê-la sem ele saber. Horrível, não é?
- E o que você fez? O Fausto é boa pinta.
- Só se for pra você. Você é boa pinta e não precisa mostrar pra todo mundo.
- Eu, boa pinta? Ainda bem que você vê isso em mim.
- Eu vejo sim. Bem, voltando, eu enrolei ele por alguns momentos e olhei para ele como se dissesse: já sei desse papo e estou cansada disso, não me interessa.
- E ele parou por aí?
- Ele viu que não tinha chance, mesmo assim não deu o braço a torcer e lançou aquela de que eu ainda não o percebera realmente, era questão de tempo.
- Que sujeitinho! Sabe o que ele mais gosta de ficar falando comigo? Como ele conquista outras e engana amigos com suas esposas ou até irmãos. Parece que para ele todas as mulheres não resistem ao seu charme e ele se acha até digno, pois recusa algumas que ele vê que o marido sofreria muito e baboseiras mais. Como a mente se adequa às atitudes para que o indivíduo não sofra de consciência pesada.
- Isso eu vi em psicologia. É um tal de desvio cognitivo ou ressonância cognitiva, não lembro direito. É quando você muda ou as atitudes para se adequar ao caráter ou o caráter para condizer com suas atitudes.
- Isso. Você acha que uma pessoa que não liga para outras pessoas não faz a mesma coisa com você por trás? Já tinha até te avisado, não é?
- E veio como uma máquina, tudo programado, certinho, na hora certa, momento adequado, só esperando a vez.
- Mas a maioria cai.
- Se deixam cair. Nem ligam que estão sendo só usadas mesmo. Já se sentem usadas pelo marido.
- É triste ver a Georgia. Ela nem desconfia. Se ficar sabendo pode ser pior.
- Ele já te disse se gosta dela? Talvez goste, mas sente essa impulsão com outras.
- Que nada! Ele a vê somente como um lugar seguro para voltar. A visão machista e centralizadora: [Al altera a voz para uma mais forte e grave] a fortaleza onde voltarei depois de batalhar, depois de explorar o mundo e experimentar tudo, o lugar onde minha esposa serva e fiel me satisfará e me dará uma sensação de missão cumprida.
Rita solta uma risada.
- [volta a voz normal] É isso. Fausto sabe que só a Georgia aturaria ele o dia inteiro, cuidaria de tudo para ele todo dia enquanto as outras não mexeriam um dedo, só são vorazes pelo sexo. E ele adora isso: ser visto como um objeto para satisfazer mulheres reprimidas e insatisfeitas.
- Na verdade acho que ele curte também essa coisa de estar sendo vitorioso com relação aos outros homens. Sabe, sua mulher se satisfaz é comigo, te trai, tem você todos os dias mas deseja é ficar comigo e essas coisas. Uma competição de homem para homem.
- Uma homossexualidade reprimida você quer dizer?
- Mais profundamente é isso.
- É. Vamos parar e tomar um belo café da manhã? A chuva parou de madrugada e o sol já está secando tudo. Fica aquele ar cheio de vapor que eu adoro.
- Vamos nos trocar.
Al e Rita trocam de roupa e escovam os dentes. Rita demora mais no cabelo todo bagunçado.
- Você se lembrou de trazer algum dinheiro trocado?
- Tenho aqui na bolsa. Eles não aceitam cartão?
- Melhor dinheiro trocado.
Os dois se abraçam e juntos saem pela porta.
Lanchonete razoavelmente cheia. Al e Rita chegam e sentam numa mesa de centro. Uma garçonete vem atendê-los.
- Bom dia. O que desejam?
- Bom dia. O que vem no café da manhã especial?
- Leite, café, ovos, torradas, pastas, geléias, biscoitos, frutas e sucos de laranja e mamão.
- Uau, está ótimo para mim.
- Dá para dois?
A garçonete sai para a cozinha. Georgia aparece num canto da lanchonete, toda desarrumada e quieta.
- Deveríamos dizer que esta manhã realmente surpreende depois do temporal de ontem.
- Como se não tivesse havido nenhuma chuva. Impressionante!
Al percebe Georgia, olha atentamente para ela sem reconhecê- la e se aproxima do ouvido de Rita.
- Rita, aquela não é a Georgia?
- Georgia? Como ela poderia estar aqui?
Rita se vira e olha Georgia.
- Meu Deus, Georgia!
Rita se levanta rapidamente e vai de encontro a Georgia. Al acompanha.
- Georgia, é você?
Georgia não demonstra nenhuma reação. Rita a sacode um pouco.
- Georgia, sou eu. Rita. Georgia. Georgia! [grita].
As pessoas da lanchonete se voltam para onde estão Rita, Al e Georgia, mas logo retornam ao normal.
- Hei, Georgia.
- Al, o que...
Georgia, de repente, desata a chorar.
- Georgia, o que foi?
Georgia continua chorando compulsivamente. Rita e Al tentam acomodá-la melhor no banco.
- [grita] Faaaustoooo!
Georgia se acalma. As pessoas novamente olham com interesse para eles. O gerente se aproxima da mesa.
- O que acontece aqui? Posso ajudar?
- Desculpe, ela é uma amiga nossa e estamos tentando saber o que aconteceu com ela. Por favor, desculpe.
- Peça pra ela se acalmar senão os fregueses se assustarão.
- Não se preocupe.
Al dizendo isso se levanta e encara o gerente face a face.
- Não vamos espantar os clientes, se é só isso que importa para você.
O gerente se constrange e abaixa a pose.
- Bem, tudo bem. Precisam de alguma coisa?
- Água com açucar seria bom.
- Vou providenciar.
O gerente sai.
- Totalmente inexperiente no trato com clientes.
- Nem quero imaginar ele se portando num assalto, ele deve fazer o assaltante matar metade da lanchonete.
- E ainda ser morto tentando evitar o assalto.
Al e Rita percebem que Georgia voltou ao normal.
- Georgia, tudo bem, o que houve?
- Ah, Rita. Fiz o que não devia fazer e paguei caro por isso.
- O que foi?
- Sabe o Eduardo? Bem...
Georgia pára e olha sorrateiramente para Al.
- Não se preocupe, Al sempre sabe de tudo. Não tem nada que eu esconda dele.
- Até nossas confidências?
- Algumas. Al e eu somos abertos nisso, você sabe.
- Não sabia que até nesse ponto.
- Não se preocupe. Nunca fiz julgamentos e nem cometi indiscrições.
- Bem, como eu ia dizendo...
Neste momento, Fausto entra espalhafatosamente na lanchonete.
- [grita] Georgia! Georgia!
Georgia se levanta.
Georgia tenta sair rapidamente pela saída dos fundos, mas Al e Rita a seguram. Fausto se dirige a eles com andar cambaleante. Al se interpõe entre ele e Georgia.
- Fausto, você está bêbado.
- O que você também está fazendo aqui?
- Me larga, Rita.
Georgia desata a chorar novamente.
- Eu? Eu sempre estive aqui. Esta lanchonete é onde eu vivi estes últimos 31 anos da minha vida.
- Vamos nos sentar.
Al puxa Fausto para uma mesa. Rita faz o mesmo com Georgia.
- Tô com fome.
Fausto bate na mesa.
- [grita] Comida!
Al segura os braços de Fausto.
- Se acalme aí.
A garçonete chega com o copo de água com açucar.
- Aqui está.
Georgia bebe o copo e se acalma.
- Um copo de café puro, por favor.
A garçonete vai para a mesa principal e enche um copo com café, trazendo para Al.
Al faz Fausto beber o café.
- Argh, que coisa é essa? Eu não quero beber essa...
Fausto desmaia e cai no sono.
- Ainda bem. [Vira- se para Georgia] Bem, Georgia, agora conte-nos tudo, sem enrolação.
- Fausto me pegou na cama com o Eduardo.
Um momento de silêncio.
- Só isso?
- Como só isso?! Eu traí o Fausto pela primeira vez e ele descobre tudo! Como fui idiota!
Com o olhar Rita censura Al.
- Georgia, não se preocupe. Como isso foi acontecer, você ama o Fausto, não é?
Georgia confirma com a cabeça.
- Amo. Mais que tudo.
- É complicado. Surgiu a oportunidade. Eduardo sempre foi solícito, compreensivo, um amigão. Ontem de manhã ele foi lá em casa para conversar comigo sobre a exposição do mês que vem. Eu vou patrociná-lo. Então, ele estava muito charmoso aquela manhã e não percebi que estava insinuando coisas para o meu lado. Quando vi estava abraçando e beijando ele no estúdio. Fizemos amor ali mesmo e foi tão diferente do que com o Fausto, não sei, nem melhor ou pior, diferente, proibido. Eduardo passou a tarde inteira lá e não paramos nenhum momento. Esqueci a hora e já era hora do Fausto chegar quando já estávamos na nossa cama. Foi a pior coisa que me aconteceu.
Georgia começa a chorar.
- Fausto ficou petrificado. Eduardo teve tempo de se vestir e ir embora enquanto o Fausto ficou ali parado, me olhando sem qualquer emoção a não ser de espanto. Fui ficando cada vez mais humilhada e sai dali correndo. Peguei o carro, fui ao aeroporto e vim para cá, pois sabia que estavam aqui. Ia esperar mais um pouco e iria para o hotel onde vocês estão. Agora, não sei mais.
Georgia acaricia Fausto dormindo com a cabeça na mesa.
- Me perdoa, querido. Perdoa?
Rita e Al se olham sem ter o que dizer.
É noite na sala da casa de Al e Rita. Ninguém na sala. Rita chega da rua com vários tubos de cartazes e posters. Vai até a secretária eletrônica e a ativa para ver as ligações do dia. Enquanto isso, tira os sapatos e prepara um suco na cozinha.
- [voz feminina] Rita, aqui é a Cássia. Como foram as apresentações, os clientes gostaram? Espero que sim, aqui em Paris o tempo anda nublado. Vou sair hoje à noite. Volto no fim de semana. Me liga aqui no hotel amanhã. Valeu, tchau.
- [voz masculina] Rita, os clientes me telefonaram agora mesmo às 10 horas para dizer que aprovaram a campanha! Valeu, garota! Até amanhã.
- [Al] Oi, querida. Acertei o contrato, vou receber 5 por cento da bilheteria mais o salário estabelecido. Gostaram do final. Quem diria, hein. Vou telefonar pro Fausto e a Georgia para avisar. Quem sabe faremos uma salada especial no Domingo para comemorar? Não te digo quem quer interpretar o papel principal! Você vai adorar! Volto depois de manhã. Beijos, te amo muito.
Rita volta da cozinha e ouve com prazer o marido. Liga a televisão e senta no sofá com um copo de suco na mão. Na tv "Maridos e Esposas" está sendo exibido. O telefone toca. Rita atende sentada.
- Oi, Rita!
- Oi! Como vai?
- Você já soube do Al?
- Já. Bom, não é?
- Eu e o Fausto adoramos. E nem vamos acusar o Al de plágio! Se não fosse por vocês não sei onde minha relação com Fausto ia acabar.
- Que é isso. Agora é outra história, outra relação. O resto é passado.
- Rita, e o teste?
- [pausa e sorri] O que você acha?
Ouve- se o grito de alegria de Georgia do outro lado da linha. Agora só se ouve Rita falando.
- O Al ainda não sabe. Vai ter uma surpresa. E foi assim sem planejamento nenhum, foi o dia que esqueci de tomar a pílula e o Al não usou camisinha. É o máximo saber que teremos um bebê.
Rita ouve Georgia.
- É. É isso mesmo. Talvez para Maio do ano que vem. [pausa] Sim. [pausa] Claro. [pausa] Domingo então, tá. [pausa] Tá legal, um abraço.
Rita desliga o telefone. Entra Fausto e senta na mesinha da sala, começa a chorar. Al vem atrás. Rita não os vê ou ouve e continua assistindo o filme.
- Fausto. O que você esperava de um casamento que se sustentava na mentira e na infidelidade? O que você lucrava saindo com tantas garotas?
- Eram coisas passageiras, sem importância.
- Se eram não sei por que continuava. Fiquei sabendo que até a Rita sofreu um leve ataque de sua parte.
- A Rita? [pausa e chora mais] Oh, é verdade, que vergonha. Você que agora está aí me ajudando e eu queria te prejudicar.
- Para você ver como são as coisas. Mas, isso foi com a Rita e vocês já acabaram com o assunto.
- [meio suplicando] Juro que a Rita é digna, me desprezou desde o começo, eu que sempre fui um filho da puta.
- [ironizando] Eu sei.
Fausto se recupera um pouco e sorri.
- Escuta, Fausto, precisamos de mudança. Georgia sempre foi dedicada e te amou como nenhuma outra. Acho que nem você merecia mulher assim, mas ela realmente sempre vai te amar, então acho melhor você mudar radicalmente de comportamento.
- Eu vou tentar. Já tenho notado que o apetite sexual diminuiu com relação às outras mulheres e aumentou o desejo pela Georgia. Estou redescobrindo a mulher que tenho.
- Eu redescubro todo dia a Rita. E cada dia me apaixono mais.
- Isso é legal. Quem diria que eu estaria falando isso, mas é verdade, nada melhor que o amor e a sinceridade. Agora falo tudo com ela: as impressões e até alguns desejos que eu antes escondia dela.
- Isso é bom. Tenha em mente que mesmo que você se esforce ao máximo você sempre carregará esta característica da atração por outras mulheres. Isso não muda da noite para o dia. O melhor que você tem a fazer é se abrir para Georgia e ela sempre te ajudará. Não sei, a fantasia também vai auxiliar.
- Vamos entrar em uma terapia de casal semana que vem.
- Só espero que dê tudo certo.
- Obrigado, Al. Por tudo.
Fausto sai pela porta. Al o acompanha lá fora. Toca a campainha, Rita se levanta do sofá e vai atender.
- Quem é? [pausa] Quem é? [pausa]
As cortinas fecham e após alguns minutos reabrem.
Al se encontra na mesa da sala com um notebook, Rita de lado olha a tela.
- Mas fica um final muito aberto. Afinal de contas do que se tratou o roteiro?
- Foi mais memórias e impressões. Sabe, um neo-realismo moderno americano. Sei lá.
- Quem seria na porta? O marido??
- Ele é que não era. Estava muito longe. Quem sabe não era o amigo infiel para dar em cima dela e vermos que ele não mudou nada. Ou a amiga que revelaria que eram amantes. Ou a própria morte que avisaria sobre a morte do marido. Ou quem sabe a mãe dela, para dizer que o pai a largará para ficar com outra e seria assim um ciclo de adultérios e infidelidades, dizendo que ninguém é fiel neste mundo. Ou uma suposta amante do marido que viria contar a ela toda a verdade. Ou melhor ainda um bebê bastardo do marido. Ela não aguentaria a surpresa e se mataria.
- Tá, tá, é melhor aberto mesmo, assim não fica aquela coisa de lição de moral da estória.
- Isso, o público refletiria sobre os assuntos abordados de forma imparcial, não manipulados, ou sobre a infidelidade, ou sobre o amor ou sobre a arte, etc.
- Como autor é melhor assim. De fora.
- Graças a Deus que terminou.
- Qual vai ser o título?
- Não sei ainda, talvez os nomes do casal. Tipo Thelma & Louise, Corisco & Dadá, Frankie & Johnnie, Harry & Sally...
- Ficam tantas dúvidas e nenhuma conclusão. Pelo menos aqui temos algumas certezas.
- Como assim, certezas?
- Que eu te amo, você me ama, nós nos amamos e somos fiéis, que vamos ter um filho em breve e que este filme vai ser um sucesso!
- E quem disse que não fazemos parte de um filme, somos personagens e tomaremos qualquer rumo que o autor quiser dar para a gente? Que estamos aprisionados sem liberdade para expressarmos livremente nossas idéias, nossas vontades, ao bel prazer daquele que escreve.
- Será que é isso o sentido da vida?!
AL E RITA:
- [para a platéia] Salvem- nos, por favor. O autor quer terminar esta história, por favor não queremos morrer.
- [para a platéia] Eu preciso ver meu filme terminado!
- [para a platéia] Meu filho precisa nascer! A arte não deve destruir, só construir!
AL E RITA:
- [para a platéia] Socorro! Socorro! Não queremos o fim!
Eles estendem as mãos como se precisando de socorro enquanto a cortina se fecha.
O FIM posted by RENATO DOHO | 1:06 AM
quarta-feira, 28 de julho de 2010 Um Sonho Em Manhattan (Manhattan By Numbers)
"Com toda a febre que o cinema iraniano está causando no mundo um cineasta em particular, Amir Naderi, é pouco comentado e visto. É dele um dos elhores filmes iranianos vistos por aqui, sem diminuir obras magnifícas como O Jarro, Salve O Cinema, Um Instante De Inocência, Gabbeh e O Gosto Da Cereja.
O filme trata da busca de um homem por dinheiro emprestado para saldar dívidas e conseguir estar de novo com sua esposa e filha. Durante o filme todo o personagem vai pelas ruas de Nova York a procura de amigos, conhecidos e outros para ajudá-lo. Essa jornada é pontuada por imagens belas, silêncios e diálogos truncados.
Da simplicidade o filme traz a complexidade da identidade americana e da própria identidade do ser humano num mundo capitalista e consumista ao extremo.
Ao final quando o personagem se defronta com o touro de Wall Street, símbolo da força do capital, temos diante de nós uma pequena obra-prima, simples em sua concepção, mas abrangente em suas idéias, em sua técnica e em sua mensagem." posted by RENATO DOHO | 11:38 PM
domingo, 6 de junho de 2010 Bibliófilos anônimos
Duas semanas atrás, sob o título "Melômanos anônimos", tentei descrever a angústia do sujeito que visita regularmente lojas de discos atrás do sentido da vida e, mal as deixa, se vê tomado pela certeza de que o sentido da vida na verdade estava não no CD que carrega no saquinho da Satisfaction, mas naquele outro, descartado por alguma razão já nebulosa. Não no Beck, mas no Belle & Sebastian, era só avançar um tiquinho mais na bancada do B. O tal sujeito não encontra sossego nem dormindo. Dias atrás, por exemplo, sonhei que tinha achado, numa loja não–identificada, um CD desconhecido do Grateful Dead – um CD que simplesmente não existe, composto por músicas que jamais foram compostas. Talvez seja uma mensagem do além, alô, Pigpen e Jerry Garcia falando, mas vá acordar com uma frustração dessas.
Pois bem. Saca essa paranóia colossal, essa sensação de que a indústria fonográfica mundial conspira contra você, essa compulsão cultural–consumista, saca? Bom, ela é a parte boa da minha busca pelo sentido da vida. Porque aos CDs pelo menos consigo dar vazão. Escuto tudo o que compro ou ganho. Não é pouca coisa, mas escuto. Uma vez posto na estante do corredor, talvez o disquinho nunca de lá retorne, lá, daquele vasto cemitério de sentidos da vida. No entanto, mesmo assim sua morte não terá sido em vão: durante 30 ou 74 minutos o mundo terá tido uma ordem. Estante no corredor? Sim. Não há espaço para CDs no escritório porque ele está tomado por livros, acumulados compulsivamente, ganhos, encomendados na Amazon, comprados na Leonardo da Vinci ou na mão do França, o vendedor de livros sem o qual as redações cariocas seriam bem menos cultas. Eles são a parte ruim da minha busca pelo sentido da vida. Acumulam–se, sem que eu os consiga ler na velocidade em que os adquiro. Filmes, você pode ver ou perder, tudo bem, eles não ficam ali na sua cara, acintosos, concretos como a náusea do Sartre. Às vezes, os livros me lembram aqueles carros empoeirados, nos quais algum gaiato riscou um apelo com os dedinhos – não "lave–me!" mas "leia–me!" Há um coro de livros nas estantes do escritório.
Outro dia, numa conversa sobre esse assunto com dois amigos, também vorazes freqüentadores de livrarias e sebos, cultíssimos, um deles soltou uma frase amarga que definiu com perfeição nosso desalentado estado de espírito: "Eu sou uma farsa". Queria dizer com isso que, diante de suas estantes galopantes, sentia–se como um ignorante socrático, aprendendo apenas que nada sabia. Acho que tentei consolá–lo com minha tese de que todos os livros de 800 páginas que realmente importam já haviam sido escritos, "Moby Dick", "Ulysses", "Ana Karenina". E que, portanto, nos sobrava a esperança de flagrar o sentido da vida em pequenas iluminações, no "Novecentos", do Alessandro Baricco, 72 páginas, formato pequeno, demandando menos tempo, oferecendo não pouco prazer. Não adiantou muito. Sou péssimo para consolar as pessoas. Vivo a dizer para elas que, let it be, um dia todos vamos morrer e que, então, nossos terríveis problemas já não terão mais a menor importância.
Dias depois descobri um texto de Michael Dirda, crítico literário do "Washington Post", que mostra que nós, bibliófilos anônimos, não estamos sós em nossa dor. De lambuja, Dirda nos oferece a dor do historiador Arnold Toynbee. Num dos primeiros capítulos de suas memórias, ele dizia que tinha trocado seu jovem "desejo faustiano" de ler todos os livros importantes do mundo pela realista constatação de que não ia conseguir e pela pragmática resolução de procurar apenas aquilo que de uma forma ou de outra pudesse contribuir para a sua própria obra. "A vida era curta e a literatura mundial vasta demais", sintetiza Dirda. Por seu turno, o crítico faz a serena descoberta de que também não vai conseguir ler tudo o que gostaria de ter lido. Por quê? Dirda responde com uma expressão não facilmente traduzível: "I’ve run out of future", algo como "estou sem futuro" dito como quem diz "estou sem gasolina". Acabou–se a chama da juventude, a longa fileira de dias pela frente. E com eles o tempo para se perder, por exemplo, nas 758 páginas de "Borboletas", de Vladimir Nabokov. "Proust pode mudar sua vida – se você o lê aos 19", escreve Dirda.
Dirda não mudou minha vida aos 36. Mas serviu–me de consolo: admito que depois de ter lido o seu texto as pilhas de livros por devorar me parecem menos ameaçadoras. Não que eu tenha desistido de ler aqueles sete volumes de "Em busca do tempo perdido" ali em cima. Não mesmo. posted by RENATO DOHO | 12:24 AM
terça-feira, 14 de agosto de 2007 Oprah's Bookshelves
Atrizes recomendando e falando sobre livros. Escolhas legais, curiosas e interessantes. Quais as surpresas, a melhor seleção, os gostos inusitados e os melhores comentários?
I haven't lost myself in a book in a while — I've been in a bit of a dry spell. I usually get books from friends whose taste I trust, and my dad did give me a subscription to the New York Review of Books this year. He likes it and thought I would, too. He's a voracious reader. I have friends who read entire novels in the bath, and I'm not like that — I don't zip through books. But I invest in them completely. And I'm very interested in intimacy — how people relate to each other, what the inherent limitations are of choosing to love someone, and how we are very limited, actually, in our efforts to escape our loneliness. I think there is a strong sense of loneliness in all the stories I've picked. They're full of people who feel a bit abandoned. I don't know why I am drawn to that, but I am.
By Philip Roth
What struck me about this novel, which is the story of an affair between two people, is the unusual way Roth tells the story — devoid of any description, stripped down to the dialogue alone. At times you aren't clear on who is speaking. His male characters are all so unsympathetic, brutal even, but vivid and charismatic and engaging. I don't necessarily like them, but I feel intimate with them. That's quite an achievement.
By James Salter
A friend gave this book to me, and I was just so struck by how beautifully the sentences were designed. The narrative is meditative and poetic. It seems a very accurate telling of what it is to be married — that is, for a fairly privileged white person to be married. At moments I would just stop, amazed by how elegant Salter's prose is and how carefully he portrayed the inner lives of these people. The characters are estranged from each other, and I think maybe Salter is saying that it's impossible to ever know somebody — that we can't fully connect: As much as we struggle to and want to, it's not entirely possible.
Hills Like White Elephants
By Ernest Hemingway
Like the Roth novel, this short story contains some of the most exquisite dialogue I've ever read. It's only four pages, covering about 45 minutes, as a couple waits for a train in Spain. You come to realize that they're talking about her having an abortion. Actually, they never speak about it overtly, but their story is just heartbreaking. Again, it's about people who are recognizing the distance between them. It's a very appealing story for an actor because drama exists in what's not spoken.
A Single Man
By Christopher Isherwood
I discovered Christopher Isherwood in college. His writing style is so direct, warm, and inclusive. There's one passage in this book, published in 1964, that has really stayed with me — the description of America. The narrator is a British man teaching at a California college. He and a few colleagues are having a conversation, and an American woman is saying how romantic Mexico is. She's critical of America. The protagonist argues with her, talking about the virtues of the United States. He says that its beauty is in its abstraction. I thought that was an amazing insight — possibly true and compelling at least.
By Lorrie Moore
Moore is completely unsentimental but able to stir enormous feelings in the reader, or, certainly, in me. Her style is so original: The way this book is structured, the narrative is like an anagram. It begins with Benna, a singer, and her neighbor Gerard. The characters in each succeeding chapter have the same names, but they're different people. In one, she's a schoolteacher and he's a graduate student. I've never read a book where the identity is the same but always changing.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
By Haruki Murakami
This is a kind of Alice In Wonderland premise: A man is looking for a cat. Murakami describes these banal domestic experiences, but, cumulatively, he spins an outrageous, trippy story. That's a kind of magic — to make the magical seem ordinary and vice versa. It's such a tender story, his search for the cat and, by extension, a life. That one task leads him on a labyrinthine journey.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:25 AM
I have a lot of time to read when I'm on a movie set, and I've been really lucky to have been given some great literary works over the past several years. I have the issue of Poetry magazine in which "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot was first published, and I have first editions of the works of J. D. Salinger. But one of the best gifts came from Ethan Hawke when we were shooting Great Expectations. I was having a hard time because my first big movie, Emma, had just been released, and everything started to change. I had my first crisis. I found myself asking, "What's happening to my world? To my life?"
In the middle of all this, I went into work one day and found that Ethan had left me a big cardboard box full of his favorite books: The Stranger by Albert Camus, Motel Chronicles by Sam Shepard, The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, to name a few. Isn't that the best present? He gave the books to me with the intention of taking me outside myself and having me connect with poetry and literature — things he thought would give me perspective and make me feel better. It was such a generous gesture.
I remembered his gift last year when I had a birthday party. I told my friends that I didn't want fancy presents — just for each of them to bring me a copy of their favorite book and to write on the first page why it's so special to them. It was a wonderful night, and I had so much fun discovering what my friends thought about each book. In a way, that's what I've done here: On the following page, I've listed seven of my favorite novels and the reasons I love them.
by Charlotte Brontë
My mother, who is this brilliant actress [Blythe Danner], started reading Jane Eyre to me when I was probably 9 or 10 years old. It was the first adult book that I got lost in. There's one scene when Jane is a child living with her relatives, and an older cousin begins to torture her. She fights back, but ends up getting locked away in a room as punishment. I so felt her frustration. When I read it again later in school, I connected to different parts of the book — especially the scenes with Jane as a young governess, new to Rochester's house and rather unsure of herself.
Crime And Punishment
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
One of my all-time favorite novels is Crime And Punishment. I read it in high school, and for some terrifying reason, I really identified with Raskolnikov. It's so funny, because he sort of behaves amorally, but he has an incredible sense of right and wrong. Obviously, I couldn't identify with him as a killer, but I could understand what it means to know that something's wrong but do it anyway. I was 17 when I read it, and the feeling of having betrayed one's sense of right and wrong — and then living with the consequences — was something that I could completely identify with.
The Sheltering Sky
By Paul Bowles
This is one of the most visual books I've ever read. I just felt as if I was witnessing every scene firsthand, and my imagination was painting the most colorful pictures of North Africa, the cafés and the desert. I remember that when I read it, I was completely taken away from my life. Actually, I think this was one of the books Ethan [Hawke] gave me.
Franny And Zooey
By J. D. Salinger
The whole family dynamic in Franny And Zooey is fascinating. But for me, this book is all about the end, when Franny comes apart in the bedroom. The delicacy of someone that intelligent being so close to falling to pieces is intriguing to me.
By Margaret Wise Brown
My mom, who has this very rich voice, would read this book to me when I was really little. I would lie there in bed, and she'd say, 'Goodnight moon,' and do the whole thing. So I associate this book with safety and love. My parents got me the French translation for Christmas a few years ago (I've always been a bit of a Francophile), and I keep it by my bed. I just love the idea of blessing everything that's near and dear to you before you go to sleep with a simple 'Goodnight.'
The Catcher In The Rye
By J. D. Salinger
The Catcher In The Rye was assigned reading for me in seventh grade. I think the reason everybody in the world connects with this book is because it's about being isolated — just slightly outside of what you perceive to be the norm. It's the ultimate story of being a little bit on the outside, and I think everybody sort of regards themselves as being that way. And the language! It was the first book I ever read that made me laugh out loud.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:23 AM
Veronica Guerin was an Irish journalist who, in the early 1990s, wrote about drug dealers and major drug importers in Dublin. She railed against the ineffectual nature of the Irish legal system — how the government couldn't get these guys, who were blatantly guilty and walking into pubs and shooting people. Guerin had a sense of moral outrage, but also I think she loved to be at the center of life, doing something to make a difference.
The great tragedy was that none of the laws changed during her lifetime. She had been threatened and beaten up for her writings and was killed in 1996. As a result of her death, there was a lot of marching, Concerned Parents Against Drugs became an important force, and changes finally occurred.
What stuck me about Veronica Guerin was that she believed in the power and necessity of writing. I've tried to read popular books — the ones people are all abuzz about — and I can't help but think, "Oh, it's like fashion, where you feel this will be gone in a week." The other thing with a lot of books out now is that they're begging to be turned into films; they're being written with a cinematic eye, and I find it hard to spend time with something that's a bit cynically conceived.
The books and the play I've picked feel to me as if they had to be written. They are intimate books, full of issues and characters that need to be heard.
The Uses Of Enchantment
By Bruno Bettelheim
I read this in drama school. It's an analysis from a psychologist's perspective of the meaning and power of fairy tales. One example that sticks in my mind is the metaphor of a child going into the forest. Bettelheim makes the point that the structure of this story parallels children's experiences in life — how you can be frightened but eventually make it through to the other side. One can feel expendable — particularly in this day and age, and especially working in film — and for me, this reinforces the power of storytelling and the necessity of it.
The True History Of The Kelly Gang
By Peter Carey
Carey is one of my favorite writers. The first book of his I ever read was a collection of short stories called The Fat Man In History. He also wrote Oscar And Lucinda — a beautiful story — which was turned into a film that I made. In Kelly Gang, the narrative voice is so unique. We Australians all know that outlaw Ned Kelly was hung after the famous shoot-out in 1880. But what Carey does is get inside his character's mind in such an illuminating and heartrending way. And there's not a trace of sentimentality in it. I so admire that as an actor, because I realize how difficult it is to do.
Tender Is The Night
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
This novel was handed to me on a silver platter by my husband, who said, "You cannot die without reading this." I keep coming back to it because it's so detailed in recording the inner life of Dick Diver, the central character. His yearning — to save his mentally unstable wife, Nicole — just keeps unfolding. That aching is quite destructive but also so understandable. The word I think of with this story is "fragile." I was utterly struck by the fineness of Fitzgerald's writing and the timelessness of Dick and Nicole's failures.
By Patrick White
Nobel Prize-winner Patrick White is one of Australia's great novelists and playwrights. This story is about Voss, a German explorer, and Laura, a young Sydney woman, who meet very awkwardly in a drawing room one hot afternoon. Voss embarks on a trek across Australia and writes her a series of letters, most of which never reach her; at the same time she writes letters he doesn't receive. It turns out that the act of expressing their true selves in the small, shut-down environment of colonial Australia allows them to fall in love. As a reader, you are in the most intimate position — privy to each one's thoughts. Voss's quest takes him through the center of Australia, which no white man has ever conquered and from which he won't return. But along this fruitless journey, he becomes more self-aware and more involved with this woman he will never meet again. It's horrible and tragic and unforgettable.
By David Mamet
This play represented such a turning point for me as an actor. I'd just come out of drama school and I was playing opposite Geoffrey Rush. I had to leave my own baggage at the door and take on this character who would be understood by some and hated by others. Mamet has taken all the extraneous stuff away and left you with just this searing, polemic essential battle to the death. Geoffrey and I keep saying Oleanna is an inkblot test, because your reaction to it reveals to you your own sense of politics. It's so provocative — afterward, people were shouting at one another passionately. To see that happen in the theater lobby, which can be such a bourgeois, polite space, I just knew this is what I should be doing with my life.
The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying
By Sogyal Rinpoche
I've been dipping in and out of this book since my early 20s. I completely respond to one of its basic notions — self-responsibility. It's about preparing for a good death, and I've found that in having a child, you're confronted by your mortality each day as the child grows and blossoms. But every single element in our Western society is a denial of death. We don't want to think about it, which compounds the terror we feel about it. This book helps one to navigate one's way through the terror.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:22 AM
A few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Michael Cunningham's The Hours for my birthday. I hadn't read anything about it, so it was the most exquisite surprise. The writing is gorgeous. These characters are in incredible pain, and the book evokes the difficulty we all have in making decisions about our lives—decisions to be a mother, to be a wife, to be a friend. As isolated as each of these women feels, you eventually learn that their lives are woven tightly together — as are all of our lives, you realize.
When I finished the novel, I thought, 'Wow, somebody will try to make this into a movie, but I can't imagine they'll be able to.' A year or two later, I got a phone call and was offered the part of Laura, the character, coincidentally, that I had responded to the most. I was so moved by the way her little boy, Richie, knows his mother and so visibly worries about her, partly because I have a little boy. Children pick up everything from you. When you see your child doing all right, you think, 'Oh, thank God — everything's okay.' Because you know if it weren't, you'd see it all over him. That was what I found so remarkable about their relationship — that even though she struggled to keep her unhappiness from him, her 3-year-old son felt every single thing she was feeling.
I've always been intrigued by those kinds of struggles. I seem to have a propensity toward tragedy in fiction and nonfiction. I don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily. What I love most about the books I've chosen is that they reveal how incredibly difficult life is — it's not perfect, it's not rosy — and how what we struggle with is often the best part.
Transactions In A Foreign Currency
By Deborah Eisenberg
This is Eisenberg's first collection of stories — and many of them hinge on how our perception of the world can be irrevocably changed. In the title story, a character answers the phone, and as she talks to the caller, a former lover, she glances toward the man she's having a drink with: "He seemed like a scrap of paper, or the handle from a broken cup, or a single rubber band — a thing that has become dislodged from its rightful place." I so responded to this wonderful notion that you can lose yourself in one moment, and afterward see everything in a totally different way.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
By Joan Didion
My favorite essay in this collection is "Goodbye To All That." One quote has always resonated with me: "I was late to meet someone, but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out of the West and reached the mirage." As a child, I lived all over the world — we moved a million zillion times — and I never felt completely happy until I was in New York City. Like Didion, I felt that I'd reached the mirage; I'd found a place where anything could happen. And she talks about that: "I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month."
By Peter Moore Smith
My brother wrote this book — I had to put it on my list. It's a thriller, but it's also about the disintegration of a family and the ways in which our desire to protect one another can be destructive. I always thought writers were the bravest people, because they seemed to reveal so much of themselves in their work. My brother gave me an understanding of the process. He can take his experience and turn it 190 degrees, and it becomes something else, which is what I do with acting. He's made the art of writing not as foreign to me. I'm still so impressed by people who can create certain feelings on a page, but it was a revelation to see that what my brother and I do is, in a way, not so different.
Tender Is The Night
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
The romance in this novel is so distinct, so interesting, and so surprising because it's so flawed. The couple — Dick and Nicole Diver — are gorgeous. You believe they're perfect, and then you find out that, in fact, they are deeply troubled — she especially. Dick rescues Nicole for a time, but he can't save her; she's too unstable. So they don't make it — they can't. It's an exquisite and unbearable love story.
Our Bodies, Ourselves
By The Boston Women's Health Book Collective
I've had a copy of this book since I was 18 years old. I used it when I was hoping that I wasn't pregnant, when I was hoping that I was, during my pregnancies, after my pregnancies, whenever I was sick. Two weeks ago, I was in bed with this horrible fever; I thought, "This is the flu." But on Monday, when I still had this ridiculous fever, I opened the book and realized I had an infection from nursing. It's a little crunchy in tone, but it's the best women's health reference book I've ever seen.
By Toni Morrison
I read Beloved when it came out in 1987, and it was one of the most difficult books I've ever encountered. The rhythm of the writing, the cadence — it was like learning a new language where you're just banging your head against a wall. Then, after several chapters, a door opens and you're in. To me, the book is all emotion, a big morass of feeling. It's remarkable. What this woman goes through, what she believes she has to do is so horrific — you can't help but think, "How does she survive?"
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:21 AM
I am such a book geek. I have been since I was young. My mother says that I used to stay inside and read in the dark. She would come into my room and open the curtains. I lived a lot in my head then.
Everyone in my family loves words. My father taught me to appreciate books. He still finishes three a week and retains everything. My niece and I have sat around on a Saturday night reading the dictionary and trying to find the perfect use of a gerund. We once spent a weekend on the word codify. We're always writing some manifesto or other and asking the other to read it.
I hope my child enjoys reading, because I think books are important in the development of a person. They teach you on some small level a sense of empathy. They help you hear a different voice in your head; they reveal a different sensibility. They get you thinking about unfamiliar topics, in ways and rhythms that you wouldn't normally encounter. A good book — it opens you up.
Mr. Ives' Christmas
By Oscar Hijuelos
This book is easily the simplest and cleanest meditation on the act of forgiveness I can imagine. It's about a horrific event — the murder of Mr. Ives's son — and how a father's heart is shattered. It's like a Greek tragedy in the way it's constructed: There's a protagonist, his suffering and, finally, the benediction. I was so moved by Hijuelos' writing — how his Mr. Ives is almost taken down by the loss and how, decades later, he's brought back to life through his forgiveness of the killer.
By Robert Frank
I love photographs; I have a small collection of black and whites, but not a Robert Frank. If you gave me a choice between the Hope diamond and one of his images, I would take the Robert Frank. This is a book of pictures he took in the mid-1950s while traveling across America. I love the one of the men at a funeral in South Carolina, the picture of the man standing in front of the jukebox, the girl in the elevator and the one of the open road. I also go back to the image of a nanny — she's black, very dark-skinned—holding this baby who is so white, and it almost seems as if the baby has an expression of entitlement on his face. Each of Frank's photographs is like a little novella or little movie, and I get so lost in them.
By Mark Strand
I read mostly poetry, and Mark Strand is absolutely my favorite poet. His poems are economical, but they have such weight to them. I carry "Lines For Winter" from this collection in my wallet. It just explodes within me every time I read it; it gets right into my bloodstream. A good poem makes you feel as if you've had a shot of tequila or walked into a freezer. "Lines For Winter," "The Story Of Our Lives" and several others in this book do exactly that.
By Anne Michaels
A boy named Jakob is discovered hiding in the mud of an archaeological site in Poland by Athos, a Greek geologist. The child's family had been massacred by the Nazis. The novel follows the pair to Greece, then Toronto. Athos' rescue of Jakob, that one gesture, affects countless lives. To me the book is about the courage it takes to be generous. It's about manifesting your compassion, and how that requires actual bravery.
One Hundred Demons
By Lynda Barry
I'd hesitate to call this simply a collection of cartoons, because they're so subtle and sophisticated and humane. Among other things, Barry is able to conjure up the colloquial rhythms of adolescent girls. That was such a tricky time in my life — I was not a happy 12-year-old. Barry is so unflinching with her own memories. There's no romanticizing her younger self as anything other than awkward; she doesn't gloss over the embarrassing incidents in her later life, like a bad boyfriend. She's brought me to tears more than once.
The Country Girls Trilogy
By Edna O'Brien
The Irish have a gift for telling dark, rich stories with a sense of compassion, so you don't feel like you're drowning when you read them. O'Brien is one of those writers. Unlike some of her heavier novels, this one has some levity, some sweetness. It follows two Irish girls who move to Dublin, then England. More than anything, it's the tone of this book — the romantic yearning of young girls — that really stayed with me.
An Ocean In Iowa
By Peter Hedges
This book is a perfect little jewel. It's about seven-year-old Scotty Ocean and the unraveling of his family as his parents divorce. I was blown away by it partly because one of my best friends wrote it (he also wrote the novel What's Eating Gilbert Grape) and also by how spare, almost Chekhovian the writing is. It's all about the natural cadences of these people, which he captures and which are so hilarious.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:20 AM
Last summer I was reading The New York Times Book Review and saw a mention of The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. I was pregnant and not feeling that great, but the novel sounded intriguing, so I tried it. I finished it quickly and was left with this great curiosity about Jane Austen — I hadn't read her in college — so I picked up Pride And Prejudice. I couldn't stop; by now I've read almost all her novels.
I love Austen's wit and style — she's incomparable. But I'm more often drawn to books about America. I've seen a lot of the United States, having stayed in so many different cities and towns for work. It's such a strange and fascinating country, and instead of learning about it through a textbook, I would rather discover its history and traditions and institutions through fiction and nonfiction writers. I'm so interested in understanding this place where we live.
By Hermann Hesse
I came across this short novel in college, when I was first introduced to all things Eastern: religion, literature, and history. It's about this notion that life is a journey you should undertake as an adventure, and you should never think there's a single goal to be reached. This is what a young man named Siddhartha learns while traveling through ancient India. At the time I read it, turning 20, I was waiting for things to unfold before me. I kept thinking, "Oh, when I get out of college, then I'll start my life." I found Siddhartha's quest to be a powerful lesson: The answer is in the journey. It has stuck with me and comforted me at different points in my life.
Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels
By John Updike
No author captures the feeling of this country the way Updike does. These four novels — my all-time favorite books — follow one man, Rabbit (born Harry Angstrom), from his post-high school years in a blue-collar Pennsylvania city until his death. The result is an amazing history of America, especially what it was like to be an average Joe from the 1950s through the 1980s. If I have any understanding of the 1960s — the years when I was a baby — it's mostly from Rabbit.
Up In The Old Hotel
By Joseph Mitchell
Mitchell was a writer for The New Yorker, and this is a collection of essays and stories about New York City in the early to mid-20th century. Most of the people he profiled were ordinary New Yorkers — like an old Staten Islander recalling the oyster business in that area — but through his writing, they become the most fascinating characters. I did a movie about Mitchell with my friend Stanley Tucci called Joe Gould's Secret. (Gould was one of Mitchell's subjects.) What I love most about this book is that the city it portrays has all but vanished from the one I live in now.
Little House In The Big Woods
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is the first in a series of books that are based on Wilder's childhood, in the late 1800s. I love stories that give me a perspective on how easy American life has become in the 21st century. This was my introduction to what the people who settled this country went through. It's about how the Ingalls family spends the days just trying to obtain food and shelter and how the hardships they endure bring them closer together.
By Willa Cather
This is another story of intrepid pioneers — a novel told primarily from the point of view of a boy, Jim, who lives near a girl whose family left Europe for the Nebraska prairie. I reread this novel every couple of years because Cather beautifully depicts the place and the people of that era — people who were tough and resourceful. Life now is physically so easy — how much time do we have to spend planting wheat or baking bread? — and the challenges have changed so much. It's appealing to be reminded of what hardy stock we come from.
Travels With Charley: In Search Of America
By John Steinbeck
I love John Steinbeck. Like Updike, he is one of the great observers of American life. This is a chronicle of a trip Steinbeck took with his dog, Charley, in 1960 when they traveled cross-country in a camper van. Steinbeck watches a school anti-desegregation demonstration in the South and gives a firsthand account of how ugly things were. Other passages are more rueful and funny. His companion, the dog, has his own opinions about everything. It's such an intimate tale of these two souls going across the United States.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:19 AM
I don't like endings. Opening and closing a book, picking it up and putting it back down, reading one page or three chapters at a time — you're still with those characters as you go about your life; they're knocking around in your head, kind of part of you. And they inhabit you for as long as the story remains not quite over.
I sometimes don't finish a book because then the story never ends. I realize I'm doing that a lot, not reading the last few pages. Except for Philip Roth's novels — I'm a massive Roth fan. As for the other five books on my list, I'm just noticing I finished them all.
By Philip Roth
I found it so hard to pick only one Roth novel, but this has astonishing character studies. It's the story of Swede Levov, a golden boy who marries a former Miss New Jersey. It's a perfect-seeming life — except his daughter becomes a terrorist who plants a bomb that kills someone at a nearby post office. Swede tracks her down and finds her living in a hovel with a piece of fabric over her mouth because she doesn't want to breathe in and kill microbes. It's the most incredibly dramatic scene about a father trying to reason with his daughter, who's completely lost to him.
My Ear At His Heart
By Hanif Kureishi
I think Kureishi is one of my favorite British writers. This is a memoir of how he came to his profession, and it begins with him finding an abandoned manuscript of his father's. Kureishi's mother was an Englishwoman, and his father had emigrated from India with dreams of literary acclaim (which never happened). I've come across mother-daughter memoirs, but there's something about male relationships that feels more secret and less familiar to me.
By E.M. Forster
The two very idealistic Schlegel sisters live together in London in the early 20th century. The novel is about the difference between ideas and real life and how both sisters learn to live — and learn to love. I first read it as a teenager, and then I reread it this past Christmas. Margaret and Helen are such unusual characters: two women struggling to put their morals and ideals into practice. And what's beautiful and interesting are their failures.
By Zadie Smith
The reason I went back to Howards End was that last fall I read this book, and it is an homage to that novel. This is the story of Howard, an English transplant to a New England university; his African-American wife, Kiki; and their children. Howard is all intellect, and his wife is all instinct and passion. In a way, that's what both books are about — how limited the intellect is. As a teenager, I thought the famous passage in Howards End about "only connect" meant we have to connect with each other. But actually Forster writes about connecting prose to passion. The prose in life is our intellect.
An Intimate History Of Humanity
By Theodore Zeldin
This is an exploration of the history of emotions and social customs of humans. It was a bit of a hit in England. Zeldin pre-sents stories of people from different cultures and eras on topics such as how the art of conversation developed. I thought people had always had conversations, but apparently they began as exchanges of simple information. I'm making the book sound dry, but it's not. Just look at a couple of the chapter headings — like "Why There Has Been More Progress in Cooking Than in Sex." That's probably the best way to explain it.
An Anthropologist On Mars
By Oliver Sacks
Seven case studies of people who have a neurological disorder — for instance, color blindness — and the creativity that comes as a result of the seeming handicap make up this collection. The title is taken from my favorite essay, about Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who has this tremendous compassion for animals and designs very humane slaughterhouses. She says that when she sees human beings interacting with each other, she feels like "an anthropologist on Mars." The most extraordinary scene is when Sacks learns that she's made herself "a hug machine." I suppose what was so moving about it was her resourcefulness. She needed some kind of physical contact but couldn't accept it from someone else, so she created her own way of soothing herself.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:18 AM
I believe in the power of timing. Certain books have come into my life in such a way that I can't help but think, "This is the perfect time for me to be reading this."
I can usually read only before bed or when I wake up in the morning. One day I was at home on my little ranch in New Mexico and nothing was going on. It was cold outside, so as soon as I got up I padded into the living room, where I have all these bookshelves. On this particular morning, a book called Crazy Woman, by Kate Horsley, caught my eye. I pulled it down, built a fire, and dragged a beanbag chair in front of the fireplace.
That was a great luxury — to actually sit down with a whole day free, start a book, and like it enough to just barrel right through. I got up once, I think, to get a cup of coffee. Other than that, anybody who came by my house that day would have seen me in different postures in this beanbag chair.
When I finished, I realized what a joy it is to read books that take place sort of where I am. I could look out at the landscape so similar to the one the author was describing.
Of course, sometimes I'm just as grateful to find a book that takes me a million miles away. When I was in Indonesia, everything was so foreign to me — exciting and beautiful but overwhelming. I had brought along Willa Cather's Death Comes For The Archbishop. Reading such an American story made me feel comforted. That's what I mean about timing: I got to read this great Kate Horsley book right there at home. Halfway around the world, I had Willa Cather's novel, which was exactly what I needed then.
The Wild Palms
By William Faulkner
This would have to be my favorite classic novel. It's such a beautiful, tragic love story — a book that will just destroy you. And Faulkner's language is so utterly descriptive. He can write an entire page that consists of only adjectives and two commas. Actually, he's the reason I ended up passing high school English, because my punctuation was always kind of…eccentric. I would say to my teacher, "Well, you know, William Faulkner — he doesn't use proper punctuation." And one of my teachers ended up devising a system with two grades, where you were graded on content and then on whether it was properly written.
An Imaginative Woman
By Thomas Hardy
I love Thomas Hardy. I don't think a lot of people know that he was also a great poet and a writer of short stories because he produced so many novels. One of my favorite short stories — and I'm not a big short story fan — is An Imaginative Woman. It's tragic. People are going to think I'm morbid, loving all these sad books. I actually don't mind a happy ending in a novel — certainly, it's nice when it happens. But when you've invested so much time and your fingers have pushed through all that paper and you get to the end... well, a tragic ending kind of goes with the tragedy of finishing a book.
Written On The Body
By Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson has written many fabulous books, and I just think, "How does this woman sleep?" This story is so intriguing. One of the things that's amazing — I don't know how far into the book I realized it — is that one of the main characters is referred to in a really unspecific way in terms of gender. But I don't know if Winterson intends for people to know this before they read the book. It's kind of like you choose what gender the narrator is. And she actually pulls this off without the story seeming confusing — and without you even really noticing what she's done.
The Red Tent
By Anita Diamant
This book was a gift. And when I first started reading it, I thought, "This is what happens when someone who doesn't know you very well gives you a book." After the first two pages, I thought, "This is a little, um, different, taking place more than a thousand years ago and all. And then I was hooked. It was riveting — the wives of Jacob, telling biblical stories from their perspective. This isn't my standard pick, and I don't know if everybody would embrace it, but it's just wonderful.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
By Carson McCullers
One of the most amazing books I ever read was The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. McCullers was southern, and I'm southern. I wonder how much a non-southern person can appreciate some of the nuances that I consider very specific to that part of the country. In the subtlest, most unconscious ways, I'm able to get her description of, I don't know, humidity in a way that somebody who lives near the Great Lakes will never really know. It was published when McCullers was, what — 23 years old? I was still taking hour-long naps when I was 23. How remarkable that she had all that talent at her disposal at that age.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:17 AM
I've always read a lot. The headmaster of my school was intent on turning even the kids who were hell-bent on becoming mathematicians into poets. We had poetry workshops from first grade all the way through to our 12th-grade graduation. I had great teachers, and I think that environment helped me develop an appreciation of sound and language. I especially love that when you read books written decades or centuries ago, you catch a glimpse of the way people once lived, thought and felt.
A lot of the books I chose here I am in awe of — they're a bit impenetrable for a casual reader. I don't have the time anymore to sit down with reference books when I pick up something like James Joyce's Ulysses. It's a matter of biology — as a working mother I sometimes can't do what I set out to do. I find myself drooling over books at 10 at night, having passed out from exhaustion. But even the bit that I've gleaned from these works I've found to be magnificent.
The Beauty Of The Husband
By Anne Carson
Carson is an extraordinary poet. She's eloquent and brutal and funny — not at all sentimental. In this book, which is arranged in 29 chapters (what Carson calls tangos), she captures domestic scenes of jealousy and fear and passion. She takes you through the unfolding of one couple's relationship — essentially, it's a story of a crumbling marriage, and I devoured it. The husband is chronically unfaithful. At one point, the wife speaks of how she had "seeing scars on her eyes from trying to look hard enough at every stone of every sidewalk in the city... or office block or telephone booth to wring from it a glimpse of the husband with someone else..." I thought that was beautiful — "seeing scars" on her eyes.
By Èmile Zola
This is not particularly highbrow; it's a little soap opera-ish. Thérèse has a dreary life with her husband and his mother in 19th-century Paris. She starts an affair with her husband's coworker, and together they conspire to kill her husband. Toward the end of the story, the pair have exactly what they wanted — except now they can't bear to be alone together. They feel as if her husband's corpse is with them all the time. It's just devastating, that discovery. I've always found Thérèse Raquin compelling — how these two are ultimately suffocated by their own guilt and conscience.
By James Joyce
I would say I understand maybe three of the zillions of allusions in this book. Still, I find it such a remarkable thing. Ulysses is an epic that loosely follows The Odyssey, but it's populated by modern people with all their foibles and misdemeanors. It's so intricate — and as I said, so much of it is over my head — but I love the way Joyce talks about the "ineluctable modality of the visible." You shut your eyes, open them again, and find the world continues without your witnessing it. It's a beautiful reflection on change and time and one's place in the scheme of things.
By Virginia Woolf
I am a huge fan of Virginia Woolf. I love the way she puts words together, and especially the way this book is structured. Two characters, Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith, are struggling with the aftereffects of World War I and, in a way, both searching for meaning in their lives. Early on, Clarissa thinks, "What a lark! What a plunge!" She uses all these exclamations and has this girlish way about her. For his part, Smith is running around rambling about universal love. He's passed into what we call madness. Though Clarissa feels vaguely unsatisfied, societal conventions, like the need to be punctual for dinner parties, still are important to her. At the end, you don't know who has found the truth. It's a fascinating musing on these shell-shocked people and the meaning of life in a war-torn society.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:16 AM
Books have always been my escape — where I go to bury my nose, hone my senses, or play the emotional tourist in a world of my own choosing. I'm a "head first" person, really. Words are my best expressive tool, my favorite shield, my point of entry. One of my first memories? Hunching in the car with Chariots Of The Gods, waiting for my mother to drive me to school.
When I was growing up, books took me away from my life to a solitary place that didn't feel lonely. They celebrated the outcasts, people who sat on the margins of society contemplating their interiors. When adolescence got scary, I turned to books addictively: Franny And Zooey, The Magus, The Idiot — just 50 more pages and I'll call it a day; just 20 more pages and I can have dessert. Books were my cure for a romanticized unhappiness, for the anxiety of impending adulthood. They were all mine, private islands with secret passwords only the worthy could utter.
If I could choose my favorite day, my favorite moment in some perfect dreamscape, I know exactly where I would be: stretched out in bed in the afternoon, knowing that the kids are taking a nap and I've got two more chapters left of some heartbreaking novel, the kind that messes you up for a week.
The Flowers Of Evil
By Charles Baudelaire
I went to the French lycée in Los Angeles, and, like every high school student in the French school system, I studied the work of 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire. At 15, the height of brooding and dark self-discovery, I recited his poems by heart and thrilled to the exotic language, filled with taboo ideas and strange metaphors involving death and decay. It's a must-read for any depressed adolescent.
Song Of Solomon
By Toni Morrison
I wrote my senior essay in college on this book, specifically Morrison's relationship to the African oral-narrative tradition. My favorite passage describes a water stain on a wood table — how that stain takes on new life and meaning with the passage of time and family history. I think Morrison has the most deeply poetic voice in contemporary American fiction, and I have never missed reading anything she's written.
By Raymond Carver
Carver is the king of minimalism, and these short stories are some of his leanest. He writes characters who are completely unaware of their own motivations or the significance of their actions. They just live and don't ask why. As an actress and reader, I love the discipline of spare characterizations. You soak up the few details offered and do the work to figure out the characters yourself.
The Complete Greek Tragedies
When I was about 13, I became very interested in classic Greek tragedies, and I think these represent the best of them. They combine what we'd identify as modern psychology with the concept of destiny. It's impossible to forget these characters — Medea, for instance, who kills her own beloved children when faced with her husband's betrayal. These are stories of such passion.
By David Sedaris
In this collection of autobiographical essays, humanity's wicked little details are seen through the eyes of a truly strange man. Sedaris's observations are sometimes weirdly funny and unexpectedly moving — including his trip of self-discovery to a nudist camp. I read Naked in one sitting and then bought five copies to give to friends.
Letters To A Young Poet
By Rainer Maria Rilke
This is a collection of letters that Rilke wrote to a poet who'd asked for his advice. It's clear that Rilke wants to encourage the younger man, yet he can't help betraying his own disillusionment with the world and his feelings of insignificance. I love how humble Rilke is — how beaten down by the creative process yet hopeful. I've given this book to a few directors and wrapped each copy in a silk scarf. When I feel like a failure or have doubts about my work, this is the sacred book I take off the shelf and unwrap, very delicately.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:14 AM
When I was young, I could always tell which books around the house belonged to my mother and which were my father's. My mom would be in the middle of The Hurried Child or The Interpretation Of Dreams. My dad would usually have a paperback thriller or a copy of Hamlet — he's obsessed with the play and can quote it start to finish. When I was having trouble deciding which books to choose for this list, I finally thought about him, and I just picked the ones I've obsessed over the most.
I'm fascinated by stories that show people disengaging from various parts of their lives. Some people can do that effortlessly, while others are pushed to it out of necessity. They have to disconnect entirely from their situation to survive it. What's so interesting to me is how often denial, which starts with one small moment of removing oneself, can have colossal ramifications.
Shah Of Shahs
By Ryszard Kapuscinski
Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for Traffic, asked me to read this history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 before we started filming Syriana, which he directed. It's a completely gripping book. Kapuscinski describes Mohammad Mossadegh, who was briefly premier of Iran in the 1950s, as someone who told the truth too early. He writes that the truth needs time to mature, because otherwise it's seen as heresy.
There's also a beautiful passage about how the shah didn't understand that destroying a man like Mossadegh wouldn't make him cease to exist: "On the contrary… he begins to exist all the more. ... The scythe swings, and at once the grass starts to grow back. Cut again and the grass grows faster than ever."
The Things They Carried
By Tim O'Brien
I resisted reading this incredibly evocative novel because I was afraid it was some male, gruff kind of story in which soldiers in Vietnam describe the kinds of weaponry they use, like lists of different types of grenades. But my oldest friend babbled about it constantly, so I dug in. In one of the more wrenching scenes, Tim, the narrator, befriends the ghost of a little girl. He asks her what it's like to be dead, and she says it's like being a book on a shelf that no one wants to read. It's a terrifying thought — being forgotten — and O'Brien encapsulates it so brilliantly.
Play It As It Lays
By Joan Didion
I think this novel about a Los Angeles actress, Maria, having a meltdown in the 1960s is one of the more accessible things Joan Didion has ever written. I always think of Didion and Maria when I am in Los Angeles: the strip malls and the curly expressway on-and-off ramps, the oil rigs that look like dinosaurs and the Taco Bells. She evokes that strange alienation and sad glamour you feel coming in from the airport or driving along the city's freeways.
By Lorrie Moore
I've gone back to one of the stories in this collection, "How," several times. It describes the conflict between being comfortable in a relationship and knowing deep down that this person is not your match. At times I've read the story and thought, That's how I feel. And it's helped me to see that I, too, am in denial about wanting to leave someone. What's so interesting is that the man in the story isn't vilified. He's described as having many beautiful parts, which is true about a lot of the people we love but aren't meant to be with.
The Gold Cell
By Sharon Olds
A tutor gave me this book of narrative poems when I was in seventh grade. Even though I was young, I related to the author so much. Some lines are so moving that I think of them when I'm acting and need to convey something sad or difficult in a scene. In "Cambridge Elegy," the narrator talks about her boyfriend, Averell, who died in a car crash:
"Ave, I went ahead and had the children,
the life of ease and faithfulness...
... very millimeter of delight in the body,
I took the road we stood on at the start together, I
took it all without you as if
in taking it after all I could most
It's sad and hopeful at the same time — the idea that she feels having a happy life is the best way to remember her lover.
The Member Of The Wedding
By Carson McCullers
Frankie, the main character in this gem of a novel, is envious because her older brother is getting married. I was about 13 or 14 when I first read it and hugely jealous of my older sister, who's now a doctor. She had this ease that I didn't have. She was the smart one, a great athlete, and popular. She would go play baseball, and eight guys would follow her. I just loved Frankie, because she was as eaten up with envy as I was.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:13 AM
When I first pick up a book, I'm just reading for the joy of it. But with a really good writer, it's exciting to go back and tear things apart. You look at the architecture of the story. You ask: "What does every character say about the other characters?" You look for clues: "Why did they behave this way? Why did they do that?"
Take The City Of Your Final Destination, my new favorite book. I'm about to make a movie of it, so right now I'm studying the story in a very fine-tooth-comb sort of way. It's about a writer named Jules Gund, who wrote one spectacular novel and then died, and a PhD candidate who wants to publish a biography on him. Gund lived in Uruguay, on an estate where his widow, mistress and gay brother still reside. The student has to convince them to give him permission before he can publish his work. The novel deals with issues of family, betrayal, and disappointment; the more I go through it, the more I love it. It's a fantastic process, hunting for clue after clue after clue. You develop a whole other appreciation for the story. You can start to smell it. You can start to taste it.
You Learn By Living
By Eleanor Roosevelt
This is basically a collection of advice Roosevelt gave to people who wrote to her after she left the White House. Some of her comments are a little out of date — it was written in 1960 — but what she writes about fear and courage apply as much to life today as when the book was published: "We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up… discovering we have the strength to stare it down." I order 15 copies at a time and dole them out to friends who are going through a rough patch. A book like this reminds you that real greatness is not something people are entitled to — it's something that's earned.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
By Jonathan Safran Foer
Foer's second novel, after Everything Is Illuminated, is about a boy whose father died on 9/11 and who has just found a strange key. He sets out to figure out where it fits and what's going on. You join him on the search, which includes finding out more about his father and about his own identity. Some of the hints you're given are visual; there are blank pages and photographs, for instance. And these page breaks and images force you to think in a different way. You find that you're on an adventure, going into a realm of thought and texture and feeling and emotion that is very specific to this boy. Your senses will be awakened.
I wasn't a big reader growing up, but something clicked with The Iliad. It's a war story told in 24 chapters of poetry. Some people are intimidated by the book's reputation, but its language cues you emotionally and intellectually. The rhythm of it helps you absorb the material — the alliteration, the onomatopoeia, the way certain words are set against each other. I remember the way daybreak is described: "Now as the Dawn flung out her golden robe across the earth." Gorgeous.
By A.S. Byatt
This is one of those books where the first 100 pages are a little tough but then it goes like a freight train. It's a mystery, told in alternating stories: The first follows two academics who are trying to discover whether a pair of 19th-century poets had a love affair; the second is what actually happened between the poets. As the modern-day scholars look through letters and historical documents, you see how the poets' relationship affects them. The book tackles questions like "Are people really all that different from era to era? How much do we really know of what came before — even if we have letters and other remnants of the past? How do you weigh the importance of what people say with how they say it? What is art used for?" I love books that force me to move a little outside my comfort zone, and this one was deeply satisfying.
By Julia Glass
One of the most soulful books I've read, it's another story that deals with the passage of time — in this case, in the lives of a Scottish bookseller in New York and his father and siblings in Europe. You see the family from three perspectives; the story traces their disappointments, love, challenges, their health and their illnesses — what happens to people over a lifetime and how one generation leaves its imprint on the next.
Marcadores: Oprah's Bookshelvesposted by RENATO DOHO | 10:12 AM