Thursday 2 October 2008

True Freedom- The Libertine

I think one the films I have to say made the biggest impression of any film I have ever seen was the the Johnny Depp film of 2004, The Libertine.
Amazing film.
The film is about that alluring debauchee, the Earl of Rochester, poet and philanderer of the time of Charles II. Now my mother has always called me a debauchee and my father always refers to me as a libertine, but it wasn't till I saw this film that I kind of smiled at the use of those terms.

Oh what a statement!
I knew I was going to love the film straight away! A character I could feel for!

Because all through the film, I'm thinking, this is a guy you have to admire. I guess I do relate to him quite a bit, certainly the person I first saw the film with thought that the Earl of Rochester was a kind of seventeenth century version of me. Nice compliment, but I'm not that good. Depp in this film plays a man who lives every hour of every day as I am in a few brief fleeting moments and the rest of my life I guess it's what I try to aim for.

This whole section here I very much related to. It could have been me, over and over again. The little talk he has with his wife, that could have been me.

There were so many times in this film I emoted to the character. Because he isn't an evil man. Quite the reverse. He is free. The title is ambiguous, it questions what libertine is. And at the end you want to embrace that word and say 'Yeah, I'm a libertine, so what? I'm proud of it. My life, my rules. Libert-ine. That's me. And proud. Because you only got one shot and you really have to make the most of it.'

Being a libertine isn't just about having a good time. But in a sense it's about just that. Because it's YOUR life. No one else's. It's about reminding everyone of 'Let each man be the best judge of the path to his own happiness'. And you shouldn't just blindly 'do the right thing'. It may not BE the right thing. A libertine makes his own choices on that. The libertine creates his own morality and does not live by the standards of the herd. But does that not in fact make the libertine the more moral creature? Because he tends his own conscience, he nourishes it, he lives by it. He lives by what HE believes is right. He doesn't anaesthetise his conscience and allow a herd morality to dictate for him.

And Samantha Morton is perfect as Elizabeth Barry. We can see why he loves her, or I can anyway. Many of you probably look at the clip above and probably think his wife is quite a stunning woman. But I can see what Rochester sees in Elizabeth Barry, because in personality she's pretty much the type I tend to become enamoured of. Which got me to pondering, certainly. I think I empathise strongly with Rochester's personality type as portrayed here, even down to the manner of speaking, the way he treats people (yes, that is EXACTLY how I am in real life), maybe even a few of the mannerisms. And I thought it was interesting that the film character that to date I've most felt to be LIKE myself, should have as the love of his life a character type that fits so closely to the type of females I am most drawn to.


I must admit to have had tears in my eyes during his goodbye to the audience here. Yes, Rochester, I was thinking, I LIKE YOU! I LOVE YOU MATE!

I'm not going to tell you any more. Get the film out. If you like this blog, you'll LOVE the film.

Libertines are the defenders of true Liberty. Libertines are needed. Because whilst Puritans rule, the man in the street will only fight for the liberties he immediately needs. If you really want to fight tyranny, if you really want to fight power structures and controlling systems of imposed morality, you need libertines to be perpetually going over the line, raising two fingers and saying 'I don't care how you judge me, I'm going to do what I want and enjoy it'.

Because it acts as a balance to these Moralists, it pulls the carpet from underneath their little edifice of book morality, family values, fidelity, temperance, being a 'decent 'person in a nose in your air looking down at everyone else kind of way.

You need libertines to say 'Fuck clean living! Let's get down AND DIIIRRRRTTTTYY while we still can!

Before these fucking Puritans get their way and ban it!

So, yes, the libertine really is a TRUE defender of liberty.

He's perpetually demonstrating the outer limits of freedom, just so the rest of humanity see just how far they lie from the book-moralist and just how MUCH freedom there is to be had and just how LITTLE most people are having.

So, I leave you with...

Liberte! Egalite! Debauchere!


Anonymous said...

I have never seen that movie - I bet I could grab it at the video store - it certainly sounds like something I might like!

Anonymous said...

How did I never hear about this film before? I have now reserved it (along with Easy Rider) from the libary system here. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to thumb my nose at those who tell me what I should do and in turn it has cost me dearly, more on a personal level. Those in higher places hold the power that ultimately DOES cause change. I am however believing that we DO need some basic rules in place for society , people would run amok if not.