Likewise, while reading the Odyssey, Godfather 1,2 and 3 sprang to mind. They all begin at a christening or a wedding or some kind of family function. Here we go again, the whole feasting, hospitalaity thing! I only got to see those films quite recently and was blown away by them. I don't like the whole blood and guts thing, but I love Italian culture, their food, their music, their passion, and raw sensuality of the language. These movies are cinematic triumphs and the final scene of Part 3, is probably the most incredible filmic moment I have ever witnessed
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino had never wanted to follow in his father's (Marlon Brando) footsteps, but could not escape the restraints of family duty. His wife (Diane Keaton) while still loving him, could no longer live the mafia lifestyle and had left some years previously. During the final scene on the steps of the opera house, where his son had made his opera debut, Michael and his ex witness the horrific shooting of their daughter (Sophia Ford Coppola, daughter of the film's director, Francis Frod Coppola)... a bullet that was meant for him. During this scene, there are no words, only images and music; Al Pacino's performance during this scene is quite spectacular. The blistering torment at the death of his daughter, the death of his marriage, the waste of his own life, is vomited all over the screen in a silent scream, which is taken to another level of excruciating pain, as sound resumes mid-scream. As the camera alights upon Corleone's ex-wife's face, it is obvious that this is the first time , she really understands her husband's torment; that he had no choice but to go with the family dynasty, that in someway, he sacrificed his own life and just how miserably difficult it had all been for him. It is an unforgettably powerful moment. I visited southern Italy and Sicily last year, and tried in vain to get to Corleone, but others within the travelling party were not as enthusiastic as I. I'll get there next year, however, even if it means taking a selfish sabbatical!
My Cretan friend, Mano, texted me recently, asking me where I was, because he had been expecting to see me in October. However, there has been no time for holidays so far this year, but I am hoping to get to Connemara in November when the Clonmel show is finished. I need to feel the wind on my face, get soaked to the skin and covered in mud, swim in the ocean and smell peat burning. Hopefully I will find a house at the edge of the ocean; so that when leaving windows wide open, I will be surrounded and overwelmed with sounds of crashing waves and howling winds! Will cook a huge pot of stew to last a couple of days, then a pan of chilli to last another few, lighting lanterns and candles to read by. The first time I passed through Oughterard and saw the sign that describes the town as the gateway to Connemara, I took that as mere publicity hype. However, my head was stuck to the windscreen as I drove from the town into perhaps the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen. Oughterard is undeniably what it says on the tin; it is a portal to another magical world, another planet almost, of not just ocean, but mountains, lakes and streams. It is quite instantly astounding! So you see from the hospitable feasts of the culinary type as written about in Celtic and Greek mythology, and seen in such mafia movies, there are also feasts for the soul. I'm also a great believer, that being hospitable is great for the soul.
There aren't too many rules in our house, and as the girls grew up there were really only two. 1. They should always always say 'please' and 'thank you'. 2. No matter who came into our home, they would be treated with kindness and dignity, which meant putting on the kettle, offering whatever was on the go and switching off the television! What is it like when someone offers you a smile...what a gift!... particularly if you're having a bad day. Another form of hospitality? I hadn't been in Ireland very long, and still a little precious about dear old Blighty, when a man, for whom we had waited two years to fix the roof, was sitting having a cup of tea and a slice of apple tart, said: 'In England, they ask you do you want a drink and they never give you as much as a biscuit with it, plus they all wash their cars on a Sunday morning.' I was quietly piqued, but sure enough, the next time I went home to Crewe, visiting mum, my dad, the uncles and aunts etc. etc. I didn't get as much as a slice of bread, never mind a biscuit, and as I walked around my old haunts one Sunday morning, guess what... they were all out on their fronts washing their cars!
Crewe Railway Station