I went to see A Single Man and found it about as far as it could be from the glossy, hollow good looks, from the ad-man's dream, from everything I'd seen it accused of. Not a stylised, superficial thing redeemed by Colin Firth's incredible performance, not at all. Form and feeling don't conflict here, they conspire. Fulsome beauty of colour and light, seering elegance of line, do not (or at least don't only) indulge the director's aesthetic, but provide an exquisite, enhancing container for primal emotion. It was really almost overwhelmingy involving and moving. I staggered out with many tears behind my eyes and I was not the only one, I think. Having recently seen I am Love, with the glorious Tilda Swinton, which is in many ways similar in style and effect, I wondered: what is this all about, this staggering retro-beauty wrapped around deep and wild emotions? Wished too, perhaps, that all those tears behind my eyes would fall, wondered what might lie beyond them. But real life, alas, is not exquisitely intense enough to set them free, not close enough to beauty's edge.
The question keeps returning, about art as an emotional experience that for many years I craved and took and was unequivocally glad of, and about which I'm no longer enequivocal. Where the pleasure and satisfaction was, there is pleasure still, but accompanied by this huge uncertainty. Is this real? Is it healthy? Is it more like intoxicating oneself with drugs or alcohol? It's an important, stimulating question, worth engaging with. Now it's there, it's not about to leave. I don't know, though, that I wholly welcome its advent. I suppose that's why my thoughts of facing it as fully as possible, making it the organising principle of a new blog, remain so far only thoughts.