Sunday, April 09, 2006


The film CAPOTE had a sublime atmosphere, very unusual – not the same as American Beauty (with whom it shared an actor), but in that they both have quite atypical atmospheres. The sombre lighting and costumes, the economy of movement/action, the sparse music being a clone of the piano and piano version of Arvo Part's Fratres (Kremer), the way the viewer was taken into Capote’s mind exposing his inner torture and his outer camp, his obvious homosexuality – the relationship with Jack Dunphy was shown only through their living together, a double bed in which Jack was never seen. In fact Jack’s surname was never mentioned, nor the title of his book which he modestly announced finishing.

Truman’s lifelong friendship with Harper Lee, whom one might suspect of being a lesbian from her portrayal, which was as clearly drawn as Jack’s sexuality – not, was for her an endurance race that she was willing to partake in – this is what we do for old friends.

To what extent Truman feel in love with Perry is also up for grabs. Perry was the not only very beautiful murderer, but humble and sensitive, with an impressive vocabulary (if Capote the author didn’t put those words into his mouth, which is unlikely) and unnervingly calm throughout, someone whose beauty, sensitivity and intelligence counted for nothing in the world in which he lived. Had he been able to raise himself up from his squalid beginnings, as Capote himself did, Perry might also have made something of himself. Truman was a very attractive young man. This love that Capote felt for Perry was clearly very profound, but just what flavour that love was is deeply complex. It may be akin (though not at all the same) to a parent’s love for a child. Truman was mining Perry for his own future. He was manipulative to the very end, and the very end means execution – even lying about naming the book, writing him that he couldn’t procure legal help ...

In fact, I could sit here and write about this all day if I didn’t have a pressing to-do list. So I’ve never read To Kill a Mockingbird, On the Road Jack, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or In Cold Blood.

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