Corridor of Mirrors: Portrait of a Covert Narcissist

Last night, I watched a 1948 British classic, “Corridor of Mirrors.” I started by looking on Kanopy, at various films and kept seeing “psychological” thriller or mental health issues and I said to myself “not in the mood for psychology tonight.” Then I see this film and it says it is about a man who thinks this woman is his reincarnated lover from 400 years ago. Sounded intriguing to me and I set about to watch it. The sound was horrible and I had to re-start it three times and finally, put on closed captioning so I knew what they were saying. I was a little confused with the storyline in the beginning too, but kept at it. Then, we get to the character Veronica, who “is allowed” to live in the basement of the mansion. It is where the main male lead, Paul, lives in. Veronica spells out his personality, almost like she is giving the description of a covert narcissist. I thought to myself, “Oh, well now, I have to sit up straight and pay more attention to this storyline.” I just can’t get away from my specialization at the office. And, I knew this was going to be a film I would be talking up to my clients. And, it is an amazing film. It is different from Gaslight, which is focused on the title. This film, bares a lot more explanation to the average person. So, here we go.

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The Bold, Bizarre and Disturbing: in Film

Since as far back as I can remember, I found controversial films could pique my interest. Actually, it all started with Qube TV in Columbus, Ohio and a girlfriends sleepover. I was at the height of puberty, we were all in Gloria’s basement, and she mentioned that her family had cable. I had no idea what that was, nor did anyone at that time; unless you had it. She also mentioned that there were porn films on the channel, but you had to use a special key, which she had. That was the end of this conversation, until they went to sleep. My curiosity got the best of me and I quickly put the key in and began to watch some really great films; with the sound way, way down. These were not your blue eye shadow, nose dripping, scarf around the neck type porns. Instead, they were art films and the people happened to have sex or be naked for various scenes.

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I Knew a Man

I knew a man who did not know how to love a woman.

He could not love himself.

He was filled with anger and hatred for a girl in his past.

He determined this was her fault.

Then he decided it was me he was angry with, because of her.

He forgot that he loved me, or did I only imagine that he had?

He was unable to empathize with others in pain.

He would not allow himself to feel.

I loved and adored this man and gave him all that I had to give.

He never saw this because he could not believe this.

I thought that his praises and rewards and adoration were acceptance.

He was patronizing and biding his time.

I assumed that his smile and willingness and gifts were acknowledgement.

He was the good guy, and I was filling a gap.

In the end he could not say goodbye. He was unable to just walk away.

He had to find a way to make me wrong. This made it easier on him.

For so long, I searched for answers as I sat in denial.

I wanted to believe he would return. I wanted to believe I was wrong.

The thought of never seeing, touching, or being held by him was more than I could bare.

If this were true than the whole time was no more than a mirage.

I would be laughed at for being such a fool and the humiliation was more than I could take.

Deceit is a game I do not play and yet he had no qualms about playing me.

All alone I sat in wait, month by month, hoping and praying.

In darkness, I saw a shadow of light, as time went on, it became brighter.

God held my hand as I returned to walk beside him once more.

If I should falter, He stood me back up.

Once more I walked my path alone, though this time reassured.

My devotion and faith – now consistent and clear.

He will lead us together, and I will find, the person I thought that I already had.

 

Jeannine Vegh, 2021

Isabelle Huppert, She’s Not Smug

I’ve just finished watching the 2016 film “Things to Come,” and before this I had seen the movie “Elle,” a few months ago. Both were made (or released) in the same year, starring Isabelle Huppert. She has always seemed to me to be a very smug actress and yet I feel drawn to her. I find her characters deeply moving. No matter that she always seems to portray the perfect psychopath; it feels as if she is on the verge of an aneurism. Most Americans would call her characters intellectual snobs. Partly because she is not funny, unlike Woody Allen, who can make a discussion in philosophy seem like a night at a comedy club.  Also, because she is a woman and while we try to pretend we are modern here, we just can’t handle the honesty, portrayed by characters in French movies. We pretend to observe and honor freedom of speech in our constitution but only if people say what is popular for the times. In truth, there is no room for a good debate in America which is probably why the traditional “salons” of Paris never existed here. Once we made very good and intelligently written movies, now we have opted for special effects and pop culture actors who speak in slang because a cerebral film would not be considered a “date night” film.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Why Him?

Why Vincent? There are thousands of artists who are well-known and celebrated from around the world. And yet, we all seem to be obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh. In the past year, I saw the Van Gogh Immersive in Charlotte. I visited a sparse collection with like mind-ed artists, from that time period, at the Columbus Museum of Arts. Recently, I listened to the first of a two part lecture locally, by Kathy Cleveland Bull, through the Jung Haus. With her urging, I watched “Loving Vincent” tonight. It was part of our homework assignment between now and the second half of her lecture. The second half will look at a psychological analysis of the family.

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Anger and Pride – A Fortunate Man: Denmark 2018

The Irony! I just finished watching this 2 hour and 47 minute film that I think will become or should become a classic. I wasn’t able to find a good trailer online with subtitles and so you will have to just read what I am telling you here. (smiling) This is a movie about a poor man who dies a poor man and the reason is because of his anger and pride.

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Bambú Producciones – Spain

This is a Spanish production company created by Ramón Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdés. I have come to love the romantic storylines that they put together in TV Series such as High Seas/Alta Mar, Morocco Love in Times of War/Tiempos de Guerra, Grand Hotel/Gran Hotel, Velvet and Velvet Colección, and Cable Girls/Las Chicas del Cable – the ones I have loved. These are period pieces with the most beautiful costumes of those era’s stemming from the late 1800’s to 1950’s and 60’s. The screenwriters they have chosen for these pieces create stories that stay in your head forever. These are nail biters that almost force you to “binge” watch as you are mesmerized from one minute to the last. A step above the “soap opera” style that I grew up with, I would even say that Grand Hotel far surpasses Downton Abbey with a more provocative and less dependable outcome. Downton Abbey plays more to the American audience, whereas Grand Hotel doesn’t care or even need to. When you have created a masterpiece, your work will embrace the audience it is intended for. Cerebral minds that are seduced by outstanding performances from actors that stimulate your senses.

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The Shack – American Movie

Recently, a client of mine raved about this movie that she begged me to watch. Generally, I don’t watch American films as I find them dull and boring. An egotistical showcase for some smarmy actor or actress who is overused, overacting, and not interesting in the least. The storyline often lacks depth and integrity. However, I could see before my eyes, the breakthrough my client had had, in regard to forgiveness and revenge: two topics we had been working on for several weeks. I was captivated by their unyielding dedication and the trailer they showed me in session convinced me.

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L’Art Du Crime: France TV Series

The Art of Crime, (2017 – present) stars Nicolas Gob (A French Village) and Éléonore Bernheim.

Murderers in Paris think about art before committing a crime – right? They have the Louvre, and so many famous French artists: Degas, Manet, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Rodin for starters. Aren’t all Parisians cerebral junkies who feast on literature, opera, art, fashion, wine, and jazz from the time they are born till the time they die? It is only natural to assume that they murder sometimes too. The average detective in France is probably not an art connoisseur,(probably brought into the city), and as a result, an art historian has to be brought in. She along with the occasional support from her father, who shares her knowledge and pedigrees, must work side by side with homicide to find the culprit behind each heinous crime. In the meantime, one learns more about art and the other about crime.

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Audrey Fleurot – The New Catherine Deneuve

Elle Magazine 20 July 2020

I love many French actresses but Mlle. Fleurot has a style that I have not seen since Catherine Deneuve. This is not putting any of the other women down, there is just a similar type of elegance and grace that comes with this lady. She appears tall and striking on screen and seems to tower over others. Her presence on camera jumps out at you whenever she appears and you almost forget everyone around her. Her demeanor comes across as a delicate flower, assuming she is a vulnerable woman and yet, there is nothing helpless about her. It is a mixed message that she plays in all of the roles that I have seen her in.

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