My American Beauty
MAH00003 from Neal Rantoul on Vimeo.
You know the film "American Beauty" with Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, directed by Sam Mendes? It seems amazing that the film was in theaters 14 years ago but it had a major effect on me. One of its prominent themes was that we could all too easily lose our being "here", that we get so caught up in our lives that we forget to be aware of what is really going on, or to see the world as it truly exists.
There is a wonderful scene in the film where the high school kid played by Wes Bentley, who is trying to grapple with reality by shooting videos of everything, is explaining to his new girlfriend the beauty of a plastic shopping bag being caught by the wind in an endless loop in the corner of a building in a shopping mall just before it begins to snow. As his camera follows the repetitive pattern of the shopping bag dancing around in the breeze, Wes Bentley's character says that he almost can't stand the beauty of things. That sometimes the world is so pure and beautiful it is almost too much to bear.
A couple of days ago, as I washed my car in the $3 you-wash-it place I use sometimes in Somerville, MA, I watched a brown plastic bag, dancing in the cool breeze of a mid morning Sunday in October and thought of the similar scene in "American Beauty".
Apologies for the jumpy footage. This was a grabbed video. I don't know if you find this moving or not but I do. Why? Because it speaks to so much more going on than what we are able to see or perceive.