Ekphrastic Blog #33

The Lady Eve 1941

Hello, what little audience is left for this blog. I can say with great relief and some exhaustive determination that another writer’s block has passed. As of last Wednesday night, I was entertained and then frightened into writing for this blog by two very different movies. On Wednesday nights I attend Dr. Simone Muench’s Introduction to Film class. This class has been very inspirational and I have been trying to use the information I gather there to create a new blog topic. This has not been very fruitful, though, because I have had less time and patience to sit down and figure out why I cannot seem to write.

I believe it was during the half-hour break between this film studies course and the film showing for  the“Lewis Movie Club” that I started to write something. This something was pieces inspired by the movie Lady Eve (1941) starring Barbra Stanwyck and Henry Fonda .  This movie was a fun, classic, black and white comedy of the type that you can see frequently populating the production line during the 1940s. It was also the first movie that inspired something starting to occur in my writer’s brain.

The second movie — Inside, a French horror film — was far from funny. It contained a crazy woman, a victim, an unborn baby, and lots of dead bodies. I summarize the film this way because it is generic enough for everyone to understand what the characters are, and gives nothing away to those who have the stomach to watch it. What I will say is that the movie depicts the pain and agony that has the happy result of a child being born. The difference between the miracle and the movie is the strangeness of that happy result, which I hope to be vague enough about for you to want to watch it. Oh, and the baby is fine. Thought I would add that in case you think that it’ll be a grotesque demon baby. If you read Christine Sellin’s blog on the topic you will learn more.

I’ll need to explain what these two movies inspired, exactly. Lady Eve was all about entertainment. It was about the main character Jean (Stanwyck), a con artist, falling in love with a wealthy man (Fonda). She is then heartbroken and seeks revenge by becoming another woman, Lady Eve. It reminded me of masks that people wear when they go about their daily lives. I remembered a fascination, when I was younger, with the idea that a mask would replace a person’s true face completely. This mask theme reminded me of the heads in Return to Oz (1985), starring Fairuza Balk. Princess Mombi (Jean Marsh) takes all the heads in Oz and when she felt like it, she would replace one head for another. The possession of beauty through different faces, or masks, is also shown through the neverending golden hallways and mirrors that echo greed and vanity.

The effect Inside (2007), added to this poem’s theme was the hopeless fight for survival. In this movie, while the French world is falling apart on Christmas Eve, a woman is trying to save herself and protect her baby. The story is riddled with death, terror, and blood. For some reason it gave me an apocalyptic image that became rather sub-terrain in the lines somewhere along the way. Hopefully this isn’t the one poem I post for another month. I hope my audience enjoys the endeavor to oil out the rust in my poetic hinges. Enjoy!

Heads in Oz
Eviction notices on Church signs
Say God can’t live here anymore,
No one is left to pray they know
they will never die.
Masks are worn by women
Seducing things they prize
As vanity gives them comfort,
they will never die.
Staring at their reflections
Telling themselves that lie
As beautiful as ever
they will never die.
Silken scars are hidden
Behind golden lace and lies,
As death stalks their reflections
they will never die.
As the blood puddles at their feet
And laughter changes to screams
They see the wraith of omen
And die in the last scene.
               ~ By: Linda K. Strahl

Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. She is, at the moment, considering application to a Masters Program in Creative Writing after she graduates.

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