Saturday, 14 June 2008

A Creative Challenge - The End

This is borrowed from my Multiply site - so I thought I would put it here as well

Sunset over Bellach, Switzerland

The End, das Ende, Fin, Fini - you can say it in all languages, but it still remains the same. This theme brings me back to the years when Hollywood films were all the rage in the cinema. How often die we see John Wayne gallop across the prairie, his good work done, the villains conquered and what did the narrator say in the film in a nice deep rich American "As the golden sun sinks slowly in the West our hero returns...." etc. etc. The stories with the happy endings were always finalised with the sun setting. Of course, not all films had happy ends. Some strange, unfulfilled - I always wondered why Rhett Butler had to leave Scarlet in Gone with the Wind and it was supposed to be a wonderful film. I like happy endings, things that say we got married had kids, lots of money and lived happy every after.

Take Casablanca for instance. Admittedly Rick's love of his life played by Ingrid Bergman, left to join her husband at the end of the film, but that was the way Rick wanted it and he walked into the fog with Claude Rains playing the chief of police, and you just knew that life would go on. I just love that film. Night of the Living Dead was another good ending, admittedly no-one survived, but there were no open questions. Yes endings have to be finished. The Blair Witch Project was a bit of a let down in this direction. You really expected to find some sort of ghostly figure, villain, vampire, demon, but no. You were left with a man facing a wall. True, all the other actors in the film were already dead, but what happened to the man facing a wall - could have been a good film if the end had been one.

Of course, you can move into literature. The great writers of the last century, now they knew how to right the end to a novel. Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde. E.M. Forster, even Bram Stoker with his Dracula - you knew that everyone got what they deserved at the end. Either the heroes faced their death with bravery, or they found a new life.

Of course not all went in this direction. Franz Kafka, the great German (or Tschech) writer seemed to write about five or six endings to his stories and even then was not satisfied, the result being that when you had the book and got to the end you had a choice in the appendix of an end- The Process is a good example of this, although the Castle also seemed to hang a bit in the air.

I read a lot, but if I start a book I usually check before I read it if it is going to have an end which needs a second book to explain the first one, or if it has a final end that you feel happy and settled after reading it. You never really found out who the Great Gatsby was which I found a shame. A few hints were given, and Scott Fitzgerald was a great writer, but why didn't he say it in plain language that Gatsby was a gun runner, the son of an oil millionaire, or Chicago gangster. We are all still guessing today.

So that is a small monologue on Endings. One way or the other we all end up as follows, and that is The End that no-one really knows for sure, we just make a few guesses.


All I can say is what a nice way to leave the world behind. I took the photo in Montparnasse Cemetary in Paris and there lies a colleague of the artist Niki de St. Phalle called Ricardo. A co-worker and assistant - an artist in his life and the afterworld. Perhaps the thought was when you go, then do it in a way that you will not be forgotten.

No comments:

Post a Comment