January 29, 2021

ALMOST ALL GREAT LITERATURE/FILM IS THE STORY OF LOVE BETWEEN TWO MEN:

Are men losing the chance to love other men?: The modern trend to write off male camaraderie as "bromance" is doing great harm to young men (James Jeffrey, 29 January, 2021, The Critic)

All this was brought to mind while recently watching the 2003 period war-drama film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World with an old friend who joined the British Army around the same time as me and whom I recently reconnected with at the end of my Camino pilgrimage through Portugal. His wife had left us to it following dinner, retreating to bed while rolling her eyes as my friend and I sang the praises, as we are prone to do, of Patrick O'Brian's series of 20 sea novels--the first of which is Master and Commander--set during the Napoleonic Wars and focussing on the adventures of captain Jack Aubrey and his best friend and ship's surgeon-cum-government spy Stephen Maturin, on which the film is based.

In our defence, both O'Brian's novels and the film directed by Peter Weir--who also directed the prescient genre bending comedy film The Truman Show--are exemplars of their crafts. O'Brian was described in a Times Literary Supplement article last year as writing in the genre of C. S. Forester but with the elegance of Jane Austen, all the while weaving plots with the sophistication of John le Carré, populated by characters that had the depth of Tolstoy and sustained by an imagination with the immersive qualities of Proust and Joyce. The film garnered 10 Oscar nominations and was recently described by Russell Crowe, who impeccably portrayed the essence of Jack Aubrey in the film, as "brilliant ... an exacting, detail oriented, epic tale of fidelity to Empire and service, regardless of the cost." [...]

In addition to the sweeping cinematography, the stunning level of detail, the rollickingly engaging plot: what the film also captures so well--especially given its two-hour limited capacity--from the books is the intense camaraderie and sense of philia that exists between the two main protagonists and among the other seamen, which my friend and I knew too well from our time in the British military. 



Posted by at January 29, 2021 8:56 AM

  

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