Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet...

I know what you're thinking (besides wondering where I've been for so long)...you're thinking that I'm about to talk about one of the film versions of Romeo and Juliet.  Afterall, I did just quote Juliet. Well...THINK AGAIN!  BWA-HA-HA!  Seriously though, it was a good guess.  I am, however, going to talk about another film in which the word 'rose' figures into the title.  Its a dark and moody little gem from the mid-80s that features a post-Bond and yet pre-comeback Sean Connery and a 15-year-old Christian Slater as Benedictine monks in Medieval times.  It didn't do very well in the cinema and has recently become somewhat of a cult favorite on video and DVD, but its story of mystery and church hypocrisy is certainly worth anyone's time be they casual viewers or big film buffs.  So sit back, relax, and listen to the story of The Name of the Rose.

Brother William of Baskerville (Connery) and his young novice Adso (Slater) have traveled to a distant Benedictine abbey in order to oversee a debate between the Benedictine order of Monks and the Franciscan order.  When they arrive, William notices a fresh grave in the courtyard and asks who died.  This leads William and Adso into a thrilling investigation of the death, as well as into trying to solve the other bizarre deaths that seem never ending.  The monks believe that the deaths are the work of the devil, but William is convinced that more earthly powers are at work in the abbey and is certain that the reason for the deaths surrounds a certain book that is hidden in the abbey library.

The plot seems very simple and believe me, my short description doesn't do it justice.  The tale originally comes from Umberto Eco's novel "Il nome della rosa" and the mystery is merely a front for Eco to educate the reader on how controlling and hypocritical the church was...even in the face of unwavering logic.  We also learn of how homosexual urges were sometimes felt and exercised within the walls of the abbey, and how something as simple as laughter was punishable by death.  There are so many complex layers within the story and that is why I keep going back to it.  The mystery is a good one too, and is one of the more clever and witty ones I have seen (even if the killer's identity is a little obvious).  One think you need to not be afraid of when viewing the film is odd and grotesque looking people.  The abbey is full of them and while it grounds the film in a realm of realism, some of the faces might give you nightmares.  Watch for a young Ron Perlman as a demented hunchback named Salvatore...yes, he's always been that ugly (and yet, sometimes I find him strangely attractive...don't ask, I don't know why either).  So give this one a spin if you get the chance.

Oh and just to give you an update, we've started rehearsing our spring musical...which is now "Grease".  Its going well, and I can't wait until showtime in May.  I think its going to be a real powerhouse show. Also, I've starting talking to someone who looks promising in the relationship department.  We still have to meet, but I have a hunch that its going to go well (unless for some reason we don't find each other attractive...in which case I guess he'll be another good friend I have in the city and I shall keep doing the single shuffle).  I also just visited my grandmother in Oregon, and had a lovely time.  I need to travel more...perhaps take a weekend visit to someplace I've never been...like San Francisco.  It would be great to do something spontaneous like that.  Oh, and I got a new iPod Touch....love it :)  Well, the trailer for The Name of the Rose is posted below and don't worry if it makes the movie look terrible...its not.  Enjoy and happy viewing!

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