Tag Archives: relationships

Ross, Matt (dir). Captain Fantastic

fantastic

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen), his wife Leslie and their six children live deep in the wilderness of Washington state. Isolated from society, Ben and Leslie devote their existence to raising their kids — educating them to think critically, training them to be physically fit and athletic, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature. When Leslie dies suddenly, Ben must take his sheltered offspring into the outside world for the first time.

Director: Matt Ross
Screenplay: Matt Ross
Year: 2016

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Hustvedt, Siri. What I have loved

whatloved   whatloved3d

In 1975 art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a New York gallery. He buys the work, tracks down its creator, Bill Weschler, and the two men embark on a life-long friendship.

This is the story of their intense and troubled relationship, of the women in their lives and their work, of art and hysteria, love and seduction and their sons – born the same year but whose lives take very different paths.

Publisher: Sceptre
Year: 2004
ISBN-10: 0340682388

Fitzgerald, F Scott.Tender is the Night

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To the French Riviera come Dick and Nicole Diver. Handsome, rich and glamorous, their dinners are legendary, their atmosphere magnetic. But something is wrong – Nicole has a secret and Dick a weakness. Together they head towards the rocks on which their lives crash – and only one of them really survives. Fitzgerald worked on seventeen versions of this novel, the obsessions of which consumed his marriage and his life.

Stephen Bradley HYMS: One of  Fitzgerald’s best, about the descent into dissapation of a psychiastrist, from his  promising youth to obscurity and disgrace.

Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN-10: 0140622608

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It’s not clear to me in the book whether Nicole gains in health at Dick’s cost, or in fact what really leads to his apparent dissolution, but I thought this quote rings true about the affect that caring for a family member can have. (Topsy is Dick and Nicole’s daughter and second child, the quote comes at a point when Nicole has ‘relapsed’)

Having gone through unprofessional agonies during her long relapse following Topsy’s birth, he had, perforce, hardened himself about her, making a cleavage between Nicole sick and Nicole well. This made it difficult now to distinguish between his self-protective professional detachment and some new coldness in his heart.

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From what I remember it seemed that by compromising his ethics and getting involved with a patient Diver begins his decline. Fitzgerald seemed to be fascinated by failure and people doing what they want to do rather than what they should do. The beautiful & the damned is another other striking example. They all drink too much and lead dreadful lives not having the discipline to avoid any temptation that comes their way. There is almost a whole genre of books about wealthy americans being obnoxiously aimless in post war europe. Hemmingways ‘sun also rises’ is the best other example I can think of, highsmiths the talented mr ripley is an interesting variation. Fitzgerald &  hemmingway are probably guilty of romanticising a fairly silly attidude but they’re enjoyable books.

Not sure why but 2 points are very memorable for me on diver’s trajectory: maybe his lowest ebb when he acts like a bigot and when a colleague’s wife condems him, noting that he is ‘no longer a serious man’.

Interestingly much of this book seems to have been based on Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, and her experiences of mental illness. She has written about this herself elsewhere.

Kleinman, A. The illness narratives: suffering, healing and the human condition

Based on twenty years of clinical experience studying and treating chronic illness, a Harvard psychiatrist and anthropologist argues that diagnosing illness is an art tragically neglected by modern medical training, and presents a compelling case for bridging the gap between patient and doctor.

Author: Kleinman, Arthur
Title: The illness narratives: suffering, healing and the human condition
Publisher: New York, Basic Books
Year: 1988
ISBN: 0465032044

Kaufman, Philip (dir). The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever.

Producer: Bertil Ohlsson, Paul Zaentz, Saul Zaentz
Year: 1988
Director: Philip Kaufman
Writers: Jean-Claude Carrière, Philip Kaufman