The Artist played out in front of us as low light jazzy music filled in the large room and  black and white images flickered on the screen. There were no voices in the filled theatre — except mine.

I  whispered the title cards to Rosalind, seated close beside me, as they came up on the screen. Like the silent actors on the screen that we watched, she said nothing.

Half-way through the film, a youngish man seated in the aisle across from us said loudly in our direction, “Be quiet; you’re ruining it for everyone!”

Rosalind’s head came up, and looking aggressively toward him, she called out loudly, “Shut up, “shouting out her rebuke with just as much if not more much pain than was present in the filmed narrative streaming in front of us.

At that point, with that cry into the dark room, the pain in the film jumped off the screen  and entered the audience.

Rosalind, as if shot,  slumped down in her seat and broke, sobbing. You could hear her soft cries through the theatre. I could feel her head and her warm tears on my chest and then I could see over the top of her head,  faces turning in our direction.

She cried, I held her. It wasn’t over.  From across the isle a man jumped to his feet, and suddenly he was there standing over us.

“I’m so sorry!” he said, “I’m so sorry!”

“Go away,” cried Rosalind up toward him, “Go away,” and she hid her face in my arm.

He lingered just a moment and then rushed out of the theatre. A few minutes later, another young man seated beside him got up, and left also. I was sorry for him. He missed the point of the film because he didn’t understand what was going and left too early to get in all figured out.

Rosalind’s cries softened. We didn’t leave, although for a moment, I thought of it.

We’ve learned to stay.

It  won’t go away, it won’t really ever go away,  and  besides, there was a movie to be watched and finished and more title cards to be read, although more softly now, with my mouth right up to Rosalind’s face, my warm breath warm on her ear, my arm around her shoulder.

Rosalind and I finished the film, together,  and laughed and danced over the final redemptive Singing-In-The-Rain tap dance of the artist and his partner, Peppy.  We loved it.  The artist didn’t quit! He didn’t commit suicide. The artist, with help from a friend made a come-back!

I learned something. I need to be more careful in silent films.

Not everyone is ready yet for talkies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s