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Harold Pinter – A Master and a Caretaker

Just a few days after his birthday Harold Pinter received a Nobel Prize, unlike last year’s controversial win by Elfriede Jelinek (the Piano Tacher), Harold Pinter has been well established in the world of both theater and cinema.
Born on October 10, 1930, Pinter is a libra/horse – the measured commander, his Sun in Libra/Moon in Taurus – (same as Steve Reich, F. Scott Fitzgerald and M. Antonioni, charming, cultured, determined, good judgment, and patient.)

Harold Pinter
Left – Harold Pinter with Frances O’Conner in Mansfield Park
Right – an image from a play “The Caretaker” – about the painful power struggles between two brothers and the tramp who comes to stay with them.

“And you thought his plays were great…
In his screenplays Pinter constantly returns to fascism’s pyschological and historical origins . It is that that makes his movies as significant as his plays and elevates him from the ranks of a master-stylist into an auteur. (More here)

The Servant was Pinter’s first collaboration with Joseph Losey. The film changed the course of Dirk Bogarde‘s career, established him as a magnetic and serious actor. (Salon in this link to Bogarde describes him as a gentlman pervert).
Pinter – Losey teamed up for more memorable films with “The Accident” and “The Go Between”.

“He uses language to convey miscommunication and lack of understanding rather than shared comprehension. ” (from NYTimes)

What is pinteresque?
* The plot must portray the disruption of normal domestic life
* There must be the feeling that we, the audience, are missing something vital to the complete understanding of the text
* Dialogue should be written as people often speak it – it doesn’t need to directly further the plot, make sense or be witty all the time, it can instead contribute to the atmosphere
* There must be seemingly random acts of verbal and physical violence
Outside of literary circles the word can be used to describe anything tame or ordinary that’s said in a particularly violent or threatening way.

Here is one of his poems.

After Lunch

And after noon the well-dressed creatures come
To sniff among the dead
And have their lunch

And all the many well-dressed creatures pluck
The swollen avocados from the dust
And stir the minestrone with stray bones

And after lunch
They loll and lounge about
Decanting claret in convenient skulls

(Harold Pinter September 2002)

On Pinter’s Poem About War in Iraq from Talkleft.

Speaking of poetry, today (Oct 14)was Cummings’s birthday.
Read his great anti-war poems here, he was a pacifist.
e. e. cummings
10/14/1894 – 9/3/1962
American poet

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