It snowed insaely in Helsinki the last night I was there. I was staying over at Ulla's very cute flat and helping her with her homework. Some legendary theater director from Sweden was coming to town. In preparation for his workshop she had to get herself acquainted with "A Streetcar Named Desire".
I once tried to watch this film (made after the play by Tennessee Williams, pictured above). I fell asleep twenty minutes into it. Not this time. Once you reach a certain age, or go through certain things in life - which can happen at any age - this meditation on cruelty and dignity becomes indispensible.
Synopsis: Blanche Dubois is a house guest at her sister's apartment in New Orleans. Her past is unclear but she had suffered some form of loss in a small town called Oriol. Her brother in law, Stanly, is at one time attracted to her and dismayed by her. He does his best to expose the truths of her Oriol existance and ruin any chance she has of making a new life for herself in the Big Easy.
The young Marlon Brando is so charismatic as vicious Stanly, you nearly side with him even in very violent moments, and this tention of empathy is on point. Vivien Leigh does an over the top, theatrical Blanche, that consciously contradicts the Cinéma vérité quality of everything else in the film, but forget the film. It's the play that stayed with me the next day, trudged with me among the snow banks to the train station and then the airport, and landed with me (but alas without my luggage and phone), after many a storm, here in Tel-Aviv.
I came back to an apartment occupied by Efros, my own houseguest, to Itka, who gave me solutions for my lack of phone, and to others I havent yet seen, feeling I'm surrounded by people who love me and people whom I love, here and by the polar circle. The trip was good and important. It called for a conclusion to be drawn from it, and I tend to trust Williams here. This world is about care, care and freakishly good art.