Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Les Mis" : "To love to see the face of God"

I just saw the newest interpretation of Victor Hugo's masterpiece (which he originally wrote in five volumes).   While my daughter has another favorite film version of Les Miserables, she needed my tissue and had tears rolling down her cheeks often to the end. We both were in awe much of the way throughout this feast for eyes and ears as well as the heart...A lot of this film/story felt new even while we had together seen the play on Broadway years ago.

The live singing and the themes of love, forgiveness and redemption (told achingly raw) were reason enough to appreciate this current film.  You can easily find some delightful, funny, unfair and sometimes compelling comments in some of the current reviews of this new film.  Some folk even offer that the major themes of this story are made more vivid than ever in this current work.  A few critiques even suggest that the wisdom herein are key to sorting out some of the major dilemmas of our day. I agree.

The most startling line to me was near the end when the hero spoke to his lifelong would be jailer and destroyer:  you followed the law and nothing more.  How many times does such apparent righteousness lead to anything but righteousness?

Upon reflection, I also wonder at our current rampant philosophies of might makes right when not only do our many versions of "law" leave out Mercy and Love but they also leave out genuine Law  (not to mention true justice.)

Finally, while the many ordinary brave people -- many heroes and heroines who gave their lives for their nation became quite lovable throughout the film, there was something anti-climatic at the end of this film.

The exaggerated symbols of the French revolution in all their pomp and circumstance -- shown along with the community of the brave -- didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story -- as an ending at least.

Still, the renewed impact of the story's themes underlined for me in a fresh way the story's central axiom.  This rule for life is applicable for anyone -- any group -- anytime -- any place.  That is: for any of us to truly love -- for any of us to show pure mercy and sustain the same--  is a better way to see the Face of God than any of our ragged versions and attempts at law.

For the next artistic interpretation of Hugo's masterpiece why not carry the themes a little further-- that to love others with courage and mercy when applied to our larger life challenges is also a way to see the Divine as a community.

Perhaps this is the worst of times in terms of the disregard for finding, living and seeing real heart anywhere we might look in our news.

Still -- our best stories and art remind us that even the worst of times can offer more opportunities for mercy and living from the heart since love is often illuminated even more clearly in the darkest night. Not only can we interpret the stories and wisdom of so many ages and find them as ageless as ever -- we also have more resources than ever for using our hearts, souls and purest imaginations to seed alternatives to occupation and bloody change.

Additional Notes/links:

For a review which speaks of the emotion that can happen even with even perhaps an "over the top" or overly-stylized musical version of any story -- where I found my photo above GO here 

For a rather academic-looking set of notes while maybe helpful to understanding some of the story's original structure & comprehensive work (while keep in mind no academic notes can capture the spirit of  such a master storyteller as Victor Hugo's original intentions) GO here


Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

This book is a master piece no doubt and though I read it quite later but was intitially introduced to this when was only 12 years old and a Urdu adaptation was shown on Pakistan television by the tite of NAQSH E FARYADI, which had a spell binding impact on me.

CN said...

Wow, you are quick & I see I must edit a few of my lines. here. I'd love to see the Pakistan version even if in Urdu. I will try to find it soon.

Thank You for coming by & I know already you will have a most beautiful and meaningful New Year.

How do you wish New Year in Urdu?

CN said...

If you came earlier you may have seen my rough draft. Plz read again...

Noor said...

Connie, I will now read the book. Thanks so much for the heartfelt review. you are right, we have so many resources to carry this simple yet profound act, out.

@AWD: Thanks for informing about Urdu version. I will read that too. :)

Ranu 802 said...

This is a lovely post Connie.I know the movie is shown here.I must watch it now.

robert said...


Thank you for this post.

This recent movie is lovely. My 14 year old daughter loved it.

In my opinion, mercy's origin is in the mysterious heart - whatever that is - of humankind. According to me, if it's not discovered there, and brought forth from that locus, it will then be conspicuously absent from laws. The whole notion of creating laws to mandate mercy, kindness, etc. misses the mark.

Thank you again.

All good wishes,


CN said...

Thanx to all of you for your generous & "one in heart" comments. I too look forward to finding the Urdu version to see how good I can begin to get at body language, tone & a few URdu words...

Noor, good luck on reading the book: all five vol's? Yet surely there is a condensed version that's true to the spirit in our languages?

Ranu, I would love to know your responses after seeing the movie.

Robert: Your words really do get at the heart of what we all know:

"...mercy's origin is in the mysterious heart - whatever that is - of humankind. According to me, if it's not discovered there, and brought forth from that locus, it will then be conspicuously absent from laws. The whole notion of creating laws to mandate mercy, kindness, etc. misses the mark."

Thanx one and all for coming by!

CN said...

I saw the movie a 2nd time & loved it even more: The Acting, Music and esp. the theme of forgiveness & possible transformation...

I was very glad to note in the scene at the end the strong sentiment: that there be war no more.

I want to do a new review on this film & the story...

CN said...

Readers Note:

there are still occasional comments spammed or intended for publication on certain themes in this blog. Be sure not to inadvertently click on these if I should miss them.

However, as these are often under certain topics, perhaps there is that in these topics which hold info needed by writers & others:

The Themes/Titles of the posts are:

1) Immorality of US Drones (Growing # of Protests.

2) US Escalations & Related.

3) Kerry-Lugar & Blackwater...

CN said...

To the Anon who just left another comment -- of a very low nature. What are readers and I to conclude?

May your best take precedence and may you be guided into your truest calling.

I wish healing, peace and fulfillment now and always.