Merry July 5th everyone. Today’s entry will feature a nibble of rugby.
But first, some delayed Independence Day tidings. I went to the highest topographical (or geological) point I knew of in Alpharetta last night thinking that I could see some of the Roswell fireworks. There might be higher ground I’m not aware of, but off the top of my head, I came up with the former location of the Caribou on Mansell Road. There’s a Justix eatery in the same shopping center and a car dealership (Lexus? I don’t remember) in the next parcel of land.
I was only there for a dozen or so minutes. I then headed over to a townhouse-condo complex downhill from the Northpoint Best Buy to take a walk around a lake. After it got darker, I decided to head home. I saw some fireworks in the sky en route, so I made a small detour and entered the parking lot of a church to watch them. There were several other cars there too–up to twenty perhaps. There I was amidst complete strangers, gazing at exploding colors. Human beings can’t all just get along (or all just can’t get along), but we can certainly all share a moment.
My mom took the above photo while leaving Centennial Olympic Park.
A friend of mine mentioned the film Circle of Friends (Pat O’Connor, 1995) to me; she said there was some rugby in it. The film is based on the novel by Maeve Binchy and is essentially about self-discovery and relationships in the mid-Twentieth Century Ireland. It stars a well established Chris O’Donnell, a very young Saffron Burrows, and newcomer Minnie Driver. And, of course, the seemingly non-aging Alan Cumming. I’ve seen him in many films that have spanned the mid-90s through the present, and he’s remained virtually untouched by the passage of time. C’est incroyable.
There is one rugby scene in Circle of Friends; it lasts approximately thirty seconds (technically, though, the entire sequence consists of twenty-five or so seconds of actual rugby and five seconds of crowd footage). This match happens ten minutes into the film’s running time of 103 minutes. The preceding scene is set in a classroom. The professor (played by an extremely young Ciaran Hinds) tells his students that they will be learning about the Trobriand, an island people of the South Pacific, from anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski’s book The Sexual Life of Savages.
After the camera presents glimpses of the main characters in this classroom environment, the professor says, “by studying the rites of passage….,” which serves as an audio transition to the rugby match. Specifically, when the words “by studying” are uttered, the camera tracks from screen left to screen right in a medium close-up of Eve (Geraldine O’Rawe) and Nan (Saffron Burrows). “Rites of passage” is accompanied by the camera cutting to an extreme low angle, medium shot (in slow motion) of the rugby players about to collide with each other. Three are wearing light blue shirts and are at the bottom of the frame (right side up); the other three are in dark colors (later revealed to be maroon) and are at the top of the frame (upside-down)–like a huddle. The camera then cuts to a medium on-field point-of-view shot of the scrum line. The referee stands off-center in the shot, and his back faces the camera. Chris O’Donnell is on the blue team. The scrum pile moves towards screen left and one of O’Donnell’s teammates passes him the ball, at which point he throws the ball to another teammate who throws it back to him and he takes off running towards screen left (increasingly from the background to the foreground).
My immediate thought upon watching this very short scene: basketball minus the basket! Futbol with hands and no net!
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Alan Cumming and Minnie Driver watch On the Waterfront. He thinks it’s a date and she just doesn’t like him that way. After the movie ends, she tells him, “I don’t want people thinking we’re an article because we’re not.” Is the term “article” to mean “a couple” a 50s British Isles expression? Americans would say “I don’t want people thinking we’re an item because we’re not.”
2. Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver are walking in the woods where she basically asks him if he’s still a virgin. He answers that he has not gone all the way with a girl yet.
She responds, “would you like to?”
Flabbergasted, he sputters, “what, now?”
She corrects him by replying, “No. It wasn’t an invitation. It was a request for information.”
3. The film gave me pause in the final moments. There’s one more politically infused message and another that suggests love is greater than lust. A genuine emotional connection outlasts and is more important than a physical one (and that a true emotional and intellectual bond has the potential to generate its own variation of physical attraction). There is some comfort in this idea, but at the same time, “how normative.”
While searching for images of Minnie Driver, I came across this page about buses in movies. It’s amazing.