Eastern Promises

Like most WordPress bloggers (or any blogger really) I am fascinated by the searches that people do that lead them to by blog. Probably the search term that comes up most often here is the name Lisa Parker. I first wrote about her in a piece called Going to the Movies. Rob and I had taken in the Viggio Mortensen film, Eastern Promises. Parker was the production unit manager for the film and it was dedicated to her, which is not uncommon in the movie industry when a member of the cast of crew dies during its production. Being me, I googled her at the first opportunity only to find that while her body of work is well-documented, there was little to no personal information to be found. That was frustrating to me at the time but now I find it quite fascinating. The public has this image of those in the movie world being eager for recognition to the point that any and all things about them are fair game and here comes Lisa Parker. A film is dedicated to her memory. A good film. And there is nothing to be gleaned about her save the work she left behind. How about that? Being remembered for your accomplishments only and not your dress size or tumultuous personal life.

I have searched and searched, in vain mostly, for more information on Ms. Parker. I haven’t uncovered much. She was just 39 when she died on June 4, 2007 at Charing Crossing Hospital after a brief illness. She was well-known in the Irish film industry and had worked on international films as well in many capacities. Her funeral was held shortly after her death in London with another memorial service in Dublin, Ireland the following fall. She was survived by her mother, sister and many friends. Donations were asked to be given to the Battersea Dog Home.

The second tim I wrote about Lisa Parker was in a piece about search terms. I thought it an odd memorial to her that people would find in the original blog piece that often brings them here. One of her obituaries carries the quote “she lives life close to the heart”. What a beautiful thing to have said about a person after he/she has gone. To me it means that she lived out her life doing what she loved and with that people who mattered most. What a lucky woman. And what better way to be remembered than as someone who followed her heart.

Going to see a movie, even watching dvd’s at home, is always a hit and miss affair. I think it is safe to say that Rob and I haven’t managed to find a film yet without references big and small about death and grieving. Last night’s movie was in keeping with the trend. Despite the fact that we were running late from dinner, we decided to catch the new Naomi Watts and Viggio Mortenson flick titled, Eastern Promises. About ten or fifteen minutes had passed by the time we walked in and found seats on the left wall. The theater wasn’t very crowded but we found ourselves sitting behind and in front of couples. Not an awful view despite the lack of stadium seating, but I did hear the woman behind us make a disgusted sound when Rob sat down in front of her and then proceeded to quickly peel off his pullover. Some people don’t deal with the “public”aspect of cinema very well. The simple truth is if you want to view a movie without the inconveince of other viewers possible spoiling your pristine cinematic experience, stay home and wait for the DVD.

The Mortenson character in the film was a Russian named Nikolai who worked as a driver for the Russian mafia based in the city of London. The first scene we took in was of this character being called upon to dispose of a body. To say that there were grisly and violent scenes in the movie would be understating quite a bit. There were only a few deaths, but they were graphic. I am not exactly more squeamish since the death of my first husband. But once you have actually watched someone die, the “Hollywood” take will never seem quite as realistic no matter how well done because you know that it’s not real. The actor got up when the director yelled “Cut” and went home to family or out to dinner with friends. It can never be as real as real is.

Naomi Watts played a midwife in the story who gets involved with the mafia, Nikolai, after the death of a 14 year old Ukranian prostitute. The girl had jut given birth and it stirs up memories for Anna (Watts) because she has recently miscarried her own baby. Between the grief and the murdering, it was a good movie. The acting was wonderful and it was visually interesting. The story was well told.

After the movie, we sat and watched the credits, listening to the soundtrack too because we like to collect soundtracks that are particularly well done. As the credits rolled it came to a dedication to the production unit manager, Lisa Parker, a 40 year old Irish woman who had died suddenly this past June. The woman behind us had been babblingly loudly to her companion during this time. Mostly about nothing and it occurred to me that perhaps she and the gentleman she was with were on a date. Maybe even a first or second date because women have a tendency to talk far too much in early dating situations out of nervousness. It’s only later when you know a man well and are sure of him that you can let the quiet be quiet. The dedication rolls on and the women reads the dates of birth and death and does the math to come up with Parker’s age, which she announces too. Then makes some inane comment about what might have happened. It wasn’t what was said but the conversational tone that struck me and told me that this women had never lost anyone. If she had, it wouldn’t have been a matter for trivia or simply filling spaces in the air.

We got up to leave after the screen went black. The woman and her companion were still seated and she made sure to give Rob a dirty look. Of course he didn’t notice. If this woman knew my husband at all she would have saved the effort. Rob pays no attention to strangers because the things they have to say or the “looks” they might throw at him aren’t of interest to him. It’s one of the the things I love abou him, the fact that he doesn’t let random people get to him. I noted her look. I also noted that she was my age but trying to look younger with heavy make-up and dyed blonde hair styled to the point of being wind-resistant. She was jowly and her belly rolled over the waistband of her too tight pants. I don’t know what my look said to her. I think I smiled.

Among the widowed there is a small sub-set which treat grief as something you can “self-help” your way out of with a bit of effort. They refer to this as “griefwork” and certainly there is wisdom is the early months and through the first year and a bit to let yourself be sad and mourn all the losses that come with losing a mate, but I reject the idea that the intensity of grief is something that will consume years – two and three and four – at a time until a person can hope to rebuild and reclaim. At some point, in the second year, normality, and the need for this, take over and grieving becomes intermittment and usually triggered by the memories that the randomness of our lives throws at us. But, it’s not long-lasting or crippling and not reason to schedule an intervention for yourself. Like last night’s movie showed me, again, that I will never look at some things in the same way.