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It Was A Pleasure

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Message Mark Sashine
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(A    Tribute to Nora Ephron)



  The first thing I looked at   after watching " Sleepless In Seattle' was the name of the   scriptwriter.   I guess   it was because I had seen a lot of such movies in my   past. Only those were not   called   lyrical comedies   but   love dramas. It was Russia after all.

I remember the movie   "Every Night At 11 pm' about a woman confessing her   troubles and desires   to an unknown coarse voice on the phone every day at 11pm.. It was a man's voice and   he surely knew how to listen. Eventually he found her but never told her that it was him who listened..   In another   movie "Three   Poplar   Trees On Plushicha' a   married woman   with abusive husband meets a nice, caring   man   on her   trip and falls in   love.

There was a movie   "The Daytime Train' about a lonely intelligent woman who   cannot   date because she   is appalled   by   shallowness of men'. The famous one " Moscow   doesn't care for tears'   is a   story about a woman who rose in her career and found a good man eventually thorough high troubles. A marvelous   and powerful movie " The Beginning' is a story about a young talented girl who     by chance   is invited to play Jean D' Arc in a movie and through the role   looks   at the world   in a very different way.


Thus   I was not   much impressed by "Sleepsess' but I recognized the style. I   just was interested who could   make movies similar to those I   loved so much.   The   primary features of those movies was    sadness with no malice,   problem with no despair,   life with hope   brimming, loss with new challenges ahead.   I could only   wonder   about the   unfairness of   life; if Nora   could meet those Russian directors and scriptwriters, maybe together they could   make   something   really great.   It always   seemed to me that   Russian movies   missed   something   and Nora's   movies   also   missed certain things but of different kinds.


Russian movies   missed flesh.   Communist morality   permitted love but prohibited passion. Women were   gorgeous   but not pursued. They were admired, courted,   sometimes stalked. But   it was all big deal about   spiritual stuff.   You could not   shoot   an orgasmic episode at that time; Meg Ryan   from " When Harry Met Sally' would not be able to   do all that in the Russian diner. It was   all presumed but not shown.    That's why it was   never clear what was that   attracted men to those women in   Russian movies; there was always a flare of a fairy-tale, a mystery of    unconsummated relationship, the   lack of closure. The message was   not about seeking love but about suffering   for love.


Ephorn's movies are American   and   we have a plenty of   flesh. That   orgasm scene   is in fact quite vulgar and   not that funny but it makes   the day. An overwhelming   majority of the   tributes to Nora on TV   mentioned that scene only.   Other women   in her movies   also have steady sex partners, sleep   with   those on a regular basis while seeking the soul mate.   It would be inconceivable if   the heroine of " The   Beginning "   would have   a steady   partner and sleep   with him while shooting scenes from the    life of Jean D' Arc.

  I   never could   understand that visible   disconnect between spiritual and physical. So typical   for Nora's women. Men in her movies   are static- no big deal.   I even dare to state that Nora did not know much about men; they were there for the   entourage.


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The writer is 67 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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