File puptcrit/puptcrit.0801, message 47

Date: Sun, 06 Jan 2008 18:15:15 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Geographical adventures,

Thanks, Steve Axtell, for posting the Paul Mesner inerview, and the story of touring puppets in Minnesota winters.

Last night I finally got to see the movie written by Sean Penn, INTO THE WILD, based on the search for meaning by a college grad who was exploring mountain and desert terrain from our Southwest and passing through Los Angeles to Alaska. He felt most alive when at some risk---ahhh the foolhardiness of youth!

On-the-road puppetry can seem foolhardy at times too.

Since MANY puppeteers have travelled in pursuit of audiences, I think many of you will find profound things to relate to in this movie. Relationships and highways are explored, the sharing between people is touched on, and much of the time it is just one young man
alone surrounded by nature---lots of it.

Based on a real person, whose life ended too soon, one can wonder what his life would have been like if he had been rescued in time---a matter of ony two weeks.

The caprciousness of life, the intense pursuit of something, the dangers and rewards of chance---it is all here.

My only complaint is the film-making over-relied on whirling and tilted camera moves which at times made me a bit see-sick (intentional pun). The majesty of NATURE has its own movement, thank you very much.

Many years ago I met a remarkable young artist/puppeteer from the Netherlands who with Dutch Government grants visited the Andes. Basically he was on a quest, very similar to INTO THE WILD. He did puppet performances in the open air, with no audience but nature, and photo-documented his work. The results were quite beautiful, as was the artist himself.

He was not vain, but terribly and poetically sensitive. I was saddened to receive a short note from his parents that one day he just walked into the sea and drowned.

I had not thought about him for a long time, until seeing INTO THE WILD. 

There is grist for poets, philosophy students, puppeteers and anyone else seeking meaning in life.


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