Cinerama: Beloved (Part II)

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Beloved (Part II)

By Mike Derderian

As the hand crept over my chest trying to find a moment’s rest, I wondered why of all the people in the world it chose an old man not so bold. Creeping hands, rocking chairs, broken hearts and sighing hares yet still no wild roses for poor Emily, who silently awaits Heathcliff’s return.

Alas for the fiend’s heart is with his beloved Catherine and it is all but a weathering memory laid to rest so I ask thee: are those lovers buried and dead and in peaceful slumber wed or is it just as Christina Rossetti once said, “Remember me when I am gone away, gone far away into the silent land; when you can no more hold me by the hand, nor I half turn to go.”

Will she hold his hand? Well, if his proposal was backed by the Beatles’ hit single “I want to hold your hand” she might agree and quite expeditiously. Do you hate poetry? Do you hate people who quote and read poetry? Do you hate me for loving poetry more than any other form of expression? For I believe that whenever humans meet with each other they communicate trivialities, whereas a stanza of misarranged rhyming words would suffice.

Beloved is the word to me, probably not to thee so what is the story with Thandee? Well, nothing but I was supposed to continue writing about Beloved when my secret communiqué was intercepted by Frau Adolfie, who masqueraded as my neighbor but was actually an SS Gestapo agent. So what happened? I was led to an empty backyard and was shot to death. Who wrote the column? Moi the Ghost of Christmas Past, ask my editor.

Let bygones be bygones; try telling that to the tormented naïve creature, who is haunting and taunting you with this question: why did you hurt me?

If you’ve seen Amistad then you’ll know how horrible the slave trade was and how millions of Africans were taken to America like cattle—wait a minute, don’t go tot far, for we in Arab countries still import full-option foreign maids and if you don’t like her you’ll have a refund—to be used as cotton picking slaves.

My family once had a maid when I was only ten. I hated every year she stayed with us, not because she was bad but for the reason that she was a mother abandoned by a coward husband, who remarried another woman and run off with her life’s savings.

Back in her homeland she was a mother with two children but here in Jordan she was but a slave, like the so many underprivileged imported women. Forgive me, Mali for my parents have sinned.

I hate it when people wait on me and I hate it more whenever I see a man, who is twice or thrice my age, opening the door of a car for a bloated official. Doesn’t he or she have hands? Pricketh him or her, do they not bleed like us so what made them so special?

The common anti-film rule “the book is much better” won’t apply to this one, why?

Beloved in terms of acting, cinematography, visual ambience and setting, not to mention music, is excellently similar to the one’s you read about and sense in a book—forget Beloved’s eating habit.

A successful film is the one that leaves you with the same deep sentiments, thoughts and dreams you’ve experienced no sooner you came to the last paragraph of the novel it was based on.

In preparation for her role as a slave Oprah Winfrey experienced a 24-hour simulation of how it felt like to be a slave back in the good ol’days, when itchy trigger-fingered rednecks yearning for the simplest reason for a nice southern lynchin ruled America.  Winfrey’s extreme method acting experiment included being tied up, blindfolded and left alone in the woods. They probably threw in an evil witch, the KKK and a house made out of candy and sweets.

Beah Richards, who died on September 14, 2000, portrayed Sethe’s mother-in-law Baby Suggs—a woman with an extraordinary gift. “Those are your hands hold them, love them and kiss them for white people don’t love them,” announces Baby Suggs to the crowd of people commingling in the middle of the forest, where children, parents, lovers and friends used to attend her natural sermons.

Suggs’ character is the epitome of love, kindness and deep appreciation of what people truly own during their lives.

Suggs existence as a whole was created through a bitter experience that revolved around restriction, deprivation and torment, the same elements that forged Beloved and were heartily felt by Sethe and Denver during the time she spent with them.

The 1998 Beloved is filled with prolonged flashbacks that will gradually unravel the enigmatic and spiritual presence of Beloved, the character. Who is she, you’ll ask? As usual I know the answer and as usual I won’t tell you; however, Demme will definitely give you more than a surprise.


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