Dear readers and fellow bloggers:
Good afternoon. One of the strongest sensory experiences of our life happened when we watched together with Mary (the “mother of our children”, mind our delicate naming) the film Midnight Express in the small cinema of her native city of General Belgrano, in Buenos Aires state. It happened in the 1980 Southern Hemisphere’s winter, under the military dictatorship that had taken power in 1975, cowering everybody into submission.
The epic escape of Willy Hayes, an American college student condemned for drug smuggling in Turkey, from that hellish prison had an outstanding surrogate effect on us. Watching him outsmart his captors and elope to the street made us all very happy; we were enjoying by proxy the collective dream of escaping our “Ottoman-like prison.”
We know that we should not be mentioning this…But we have always been so un-PC. When Billy managed to unlock the embrace of the sadistic prison warden, who was intent on raping him, and he pushed him against a mounted wall hanger, where he died, many in the audience rose to their feet, stomping their feet and wildly applauding. Did we participate in that spontaneous outburst of contained primal rage…We can’t remember.
Parker worked in many diverse genres, including the great musical Fame, with the New York’s School of Performing Arts, Mississippi Burning, the fictionalized exposé of the murder of three civil rights activists in 1964 and Evita, the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Director’s Guild in 1998 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2002. Even though he was twice nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Director, he never won an Oscar.
The super-acrobatic dance sequences in New York City’s streets, the playback singing of Madonna at the balcony of La Casa Rosada and the big jump of Willy after he checked over his shoulder that the incoming police jeep had passed by him, will stay in our retinas to relish again and again. He passed away last Friday at the age of 76 years old.
Thank you very much, Sir Alan Parker, for so many moments of cinematic ecstasy.
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
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Don’t leave me alone.