Saturday, December 10, 2011
The Name of the Rose
It all happened quite randomly, and the result was as pleasing as it was totally unexpected.
As you probably know, a major motion picture was made after Umberto Eco's novel, starring Sean Connery and directed by Jean Jacques Annaud.
For years I regretted seeing the movie when I hadn't read Eco's novel yet. Then, last year, I decided that the book would be my Christmas present. And what a present it turned out to be!
Watching the movie before did not spoil the read at all. It rather made the experience more complete. The movie only contained the bare plot. While this had to be sacrificed, it did not present all the philosophical, metaphysical, moral, alchemical, and religious depth contained in the novel, which I could then enjoy anew.
William of Baskerville inevitably assumed the charming looks of 56-year old Sean Connery. Jean Jacques Annaud provided the amazing landscapes, the thick Northern Italian fogs shrouding a monastery built in stone, the Alpine mountain peaks cupped with snow, and the grave, dimly lit devotional mood of the story.
Besides, in that period last year, I discovered Loreena McKennit's music.
Incredible: her at times Celtic, at times folk sounds were the perfect soundtrack for the novel.
Then, it snowed.
For two weeks I read ever so eagerly in the warmth of my mother's kitchen, savoring each and every sentence at the light of an old abat-jour. A cup of hot, usually black, tea on the table, and Loreena McKennit's music played low in the background accompanied me through the journey.
The snow made it all the more real and magical at the same time.
Yet, the image of the wise and learned Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, musing through Sean Connery's reassuringly lifted eyebrow, was the dearest picture of all. One that made me wish - oh so much - that I could find a mentor, a guide, and a father like William of Baskerville, to take me, one day, under his wing.