Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Grumpy Child

When I was 5 and in kindergarden I began to wonder whether I wasn't a bit of a grump. While the other kids laughed theirs heads off when our teachers put on puppet shows, I hardly raised the corners of my mouth.

About twenty years later I found myself in the same situation, going to see The Artist after everyone reassured me it was hilarious. I found it so boring I fell asleep. I concluded I didn't find things funny. Especially not silent films.
Which is why, I suppose, I steered off Charlie Chaplin. Until this week. Lonely and sick of words (aren't they everywhere? In books, on computer screens, on bilboards, in everyone's mouth including your own) I decided to give Mr. Chaplin a try.

I started with "The Kid." I laughed so hard laughter flew out of my window and resonated in the street. It contained relief (at not being a hopeless grump) and actual, sincere joy.

The Kid (1921), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Elated by this discovery, I moved on to City Lights the same day (which happened to be showing at the Kino Kultura). It made me laugh at least as loud as the Kid, if not louder - since we often laugh harder in public (and cry more bitterly at home). That did not stop me from shedding crocodile tears at the end.

City Lights (1931), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Returning home, I found The Great Dictator on my hard-disk drive. I loved it, despite the words (this one is not silent) and my German schooling. Even though the laughter came from a more desperate place, because this film is without doubt the most ridiculous and yet the most serious of the bunch.

The Great Dictator (1940), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Serious or not, CC showed me in one day that I am no grumpy child. I love him for that. And I love his outfits too. So does John Galliano (definitely a grumpy child).

John Galliano - Charlie Chaplin inspired show, Spring/Summer 2011

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