DC and I have just been to see Good Luck To You Leo Grand at the Tyneside cinema. (I love the Tyneside cinema it's a great independent cinema and so much nicer than the multiplex chains.) We both enjoyed the movie and commented to each other on the humanity and genuine care depicted whilst at the same time staying clear of sentimentality. (Follow the link above to get the plot.)
What kept coming to me throughout the movie was the word tissue and an image of a sheet of gently forming and disappearing tissue paper sort of between us the viewer and the body of the actor, not directly between but to the side and within the movie. It's not so much that the various selves, persona etc. are a tissue of lies but rather that the fabric of our selves is fabricated and more mesh than solid. This is a movie put together I think by someone who knows their transpersonal psychology and clearly the character behind Leo knows his. We have layers here and we pass through them - Leo Grand, Connor, McCormack, Nancy Stokes, Susan Robinson, Emma Thompson. The vehicle taking us through is the depiction of Susan's fantasies and the crossing of boundaries as she looses sight of the professional relationship in which Leo exists and imagines extending into the 'real' life of Connor. Here we start to see the fuzziness of 'real' and that tissue paper forms and disappears in my mind. Overlaid in this I consider their conversation about sex work and the question set by Nancy to her religious education students asking if sex work should be legalised. Like the periods of history when acting was regarded to some degree as immoral we see that the question might be more usefully framed as to what degree can sex work or any other work keep Leo separate from Connor and Nancy separate from Susan? As ever the interesting thing about human sexuality is its complexity and ability to reveal. The revelation might be as small as the details of a fantasy or as enormous as the realms of existence. If ever an aspect of humanity might bridge the formless and the formed and be captured by a name that name is sex. In this it is essentially spiritual. Connor is towards the sacred intimate end of the sex work spectrum. By the end of their sessions together Susan is substantially more free to wander playfully in the garden of her existence and we are touched by the honesty of her and Connor seeing, respecting and caring for each other without attachment.
We need a self solid enough to see its fluidity, fluid enough to be in the moment without being washed away. Well, something like that... some pithy epithet that captures the sage like wisdom needed to enjoy what is to be enjoyed in the challenge of a human life... 'There is no test..' says Leo to Nancy whilst trying to relax her '...only a dance'. Of course there's no test but we are tested. Life is not without challenges. What comes back again to me in contemplation of all this is perhaps summed up by the meditative question 'who sits?'
Leo is good looking and has a gym toned body. At the end of the movie Susan admires her aged form - it's a nice touch and thinking about it now I can imagine a different version of the movie with a less attractive Leo... and I seem to recall that sort of territory (as well as a woman searching for her first orgasm) is rather beautifully explored the movie Shortbus which I think I'll watch again...