[In] Schenectady, the working-class city near Albany where Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a theater director, lives with his artist wife Adele (Catherine Keener) and their young daughter Olive (Amy Goldstein). Caden, who's had a critical success staging Death of a Salesman with young actors in the middle-age roles, is himself a premature old man; he hears mortality gargling at him everywhere. In the first scene, he wakes to a radio talk-show report about how the coming of autumn is a harbinger of death; from then on, Caden's life is one long fall. Reading the newspaper, Caden sees a headline about a playwright. "Harold Pinter's dead," he muses aloud. "No, wait, he won the Nobel Prize." He glances at the TV and sees his own animated form as part of a cartoon show, accompanied by the sing-song lyrics: "Then he died / Maybe someone cried / But not his ex-bride."Today, I open the newspaper and see that Harold Pinter has died. He died yesterday, perhaps at the very moment when we heard the death-obsessed character in the movie say "Harold Pinter's dead." The movie is, in fact, all about death -- and life, too.... for contrast -- as Philip Seymour Hoffman shuffles through scene after scene, depressed, headed toward death, but working feverishly on his seemingly never-ending play -- his play and his life -- life being a big play and all the men and women merely players.
Harold Pinter, the British playwright whose gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence made him the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation, died on Wednesday. He was 78 and lived in London.Here's the video.
The cause was cancer, his wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, said on Thursday.
Mr. Pinter learned he had cancer of the esophagus in 2002. In 2005, when he received the Nobel Prize in Literature, he was unable to attend the awards ceremony at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm but delivered an acceptance speech from a wheelchair in a recorded video.
An actor, essayist, screenwriter, poet and director as well as a dramatist, Mr. Pinter was also publicly outspoken in his views on repression and censorship, at home and abroad. He used his Nobel acceptance speech to denounce American foreign policy, saying that the United States had not only lied to justify waging war against Iraq but that it had also “supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship” in the last 50 years.I wrote a post at the time: "The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them." I don't like that, but I will pass over it on this occasion. Back to art:
His political views were implicit in much of his work. Though his plays deal with the slipperiness of memory and human character, they are also almost always about the struggle for power.
Mr. Pinter said he thought of theater as essentially exploratory. “Even old Sophocles didn’t know what was going to happen next,” he said. “He had to find his way through unknown territory. At the same time, theater has always been a critical act, looking in a broad sense at the society in which we live and attempting to reflect and dramatize these findings. We’re not talking about the moon.”Which of course is never ending... which of course is....
Speaking about his intuitive sense of writing, he said, “I find at the end of the journey, which of course is never ending, that I have found things out.”