Sunday, December 16, 2012

"To Love Another Person...

... is to see the Face of God." From the epilogue of Les Miserables (the musical) based on Victor Hugo's book.

 

The overtones of deeply faithful spirituality leap through the characters and is why it is one of the longest running shows in London's West End and soon to be Oscar nominated.  It is, of course, a tale of redemption and the words "to love another person is to see the face of God" delivered in the very last moment of the show just before Jean Valjean dies is profound and the perfect payoff to three hours of misery.

The new movie musical version of Les Miserables directed by Tom Hooper unpacks the beautiful collaboration by Cameron Mackintosh composed by French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg with a libretto by Alain Boublil, and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and expands its power and scale bringing to light the metaphorical and archetypal resonance of Victor Hugo's original work while honoring the tapestry of love this work has represented since its first performance.

In talking at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tom Hooper shared his take on this triumphant ending where Love in all its glory and healing and presence is expressed figuratively and literally, relating it to his own Father's wish at the end of his days to leave his children with a sense of ease and grace in dying.  Death is a continuation of life, not an end and rising into that passing with grace and love brings another beginning.

Viva la resistance! 

FANTINE
Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in Heaven
Look down on him in mercy.

VALJEAN
forgive me all my trespasses
And take me to your glory.

VALJEAN, FANTINE, EPONINE
Take my hand
And lead me to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken--
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Indeed.  Fabulous ending to a fabulous work and thanks to everyone who has participated in sharing Victor Hugo's work with the world.
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