Sunday, 16 June 2013

31 MAY 2013

If you haven't yet seen Baz Luhrmann's latest exploit of creative genius, what have you been doing?! I might be swayed a little by my (sightly unhealthy) obsession with the 1920s Deco period, but Luhrmann's adaptation of the 1925 novel by F Scott Fitzgerald is quite simply, beautiful. 

Luhrmann's eccentric style perfectly captures the spirit of the roaring twenties: glitz and glamour, alcohol and dancing, riches, sequins, youth, beauty and hope. 

It is this hope, generated by the post-war economic boom, that Fitzgerald uses to characterise his mysterious protagonist. Gatsby is the essence of hope: he clings to a dream of a future with the love of his life, borne out of romance which ended five years before. With five years of history to contend with, Gatsby's quest becomes futile, but still he never ceases to believe that his love will come back to him. In the end, his enduring hope is repaid by his untimely death.

Perhaps this is a symbol for the hope of man? Some would say Gatsby's failure to achieve his dream of defeating archaic stereotypes of class to win back Daisy's heart represents Man's naive belief that he can change the past - like those who travelled West in pursuit of the American Dream, often found that their prospects remained bleak. A cynical as this may be, there may indeed be some truth in it.

I prefer to see Gatsby's story differently. I see it as proof that hope can drive us, even if the end result is not what we wanted or expected. If mere feelings of hopefulness can have the power to move us in such a way, we should not regret having had them when they come to nothing, but rather be glad that we had the strength and faith to follow our hearts rather than our heads. X 

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