This is a saturday – and as a rule of mine, I never go out during weekends, the reason being exactly that every one goes out during weekends. And therefore, being an anti-social, except for running some trivial errands – may be I should not consider posting my reply letter to Queen Mary as a trifle – I had stayed at home, reading my Oscar Wilde. But surely I cannot conclude my day with Oscar Wilde alone, however fascinating he is. So, remembering my earlier vow – to watch a film everyday during the holiday – I dug out my unwatched VCDs, and declared that I would spend the evening with Girl With a Pearl Earring, one of those films which I have always wanted to watch from the very beginning of their showing and yet have always regretfully missed the opportunity.
But then I discovered that the Pearl Channel (what a coincidence) would be showing Helen of Troy, and so I thought I might as well alter the plan a bit, for I also wanted very much to see a different rendering of the Greek myth, which turned out to be a total disappointment, and the realization did not even cost me 15 minutes, for me to decide that was even worse than the new one starring Brad Pitt, and also to put my original plan in practice.
I think I decided to watch this because of the novel I am reading – Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Poet’s love for the Renaissance arouses in me the same passion – anyway Renaissance culture is just what I am going to study in the year to come. And I only reproach one thing – that I have been most careless not to have looked more closer before watching it – for the film is about no other artist than that very Vermeer of Flanders (Holland), and whose painting of the maid pouring milk my mother loved so much that I bought a dublicate for her last year in Amsterdam. And then I saw the milk maid in the film…! How wonderful! I am so thrilled…! Oscar Wilde raises the Word as the highest above all other forms because he is a writer himself; words move, but then that very last scene, where there is that close-up at the pearl earring – I could not hold my tears upon that. I feel I know it… the whole world condenses into that single moment when the artist separates light and shadow on that smooth surface with the finest tip of the brush, in the most intense concentration. I know… I cry for the emotions expressed in words which I recognize myself with; yet in paintings I cry for Beauty alone.
The credit shows that this film is another adaptation from a novel – seems the postmodern writers and film-makers really delight in fashioning history in this way: we have the poets – Oscar Wilde in Wilde, Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, Sylvia Plath in Sylvia; the musicians – Mozard in Amadeus; the artists – Vermeer in Girl With a Pearl Earring. May be the philosophers are coming next?