Oh, Wow…last night Friday movie was Phantom of the Opera, and the “music of the night” has replaced the Night and Day of Cole Porter. The movie. reminded me of the Life of Pi. Now, how did I make that connection? Remember the monkey that began and ended the Phantom, the animated monkey that clasped two cymbals together, that was retrieved at an auction of the Opera. I thought that was significant because you have to put opposites together in order to get a sound of meaning out of this art.
As metaphor the Opera has as many levels of meaning you care to peel. I won’t attempt to cover them all, even if I knew them. So what I’m focusing on is the juxtaposition of the flat and the vertical. The movie begins and ends in the everyday real flatland. But the interior of the movie, when it breaks into living color is vertical. Instead of running on a horizontal time line, it drops us into the timeless subjective interior of our own psyche. The black and white flat line is in time, the Opera is in a timeless zone. Here we encounter through the medium of the Opera our own heart felt longings and fears. Here we encounter our own buried Pain Body and self loathing, and here we hear the enhancing Music of the Night.
The black and white exterior is visual; the interior is a felt reality. Here the Phantom and I are One. The two antagonists, the lover and the Phantom are two aspects of my own personality. And the “princess” is my Soul. But why did it remind of of the Life of Pi?
Life of Pi is about a horizontal and vertical reality—the Cross if you want to leap—and the boy and the cook is the black and white horizontal external reality while the boy and the Tiger is the deep dream interior, like the interior of Alice and Wonderland. The interior is felt and looks like a dream. The exterior is rational, logical and collective. We all see the same reality here, or at least we agree to see the same reality.
But the interior is always unexplored, and the only guide is art and metaphor. The law here is ambiguity. Logic is no guide in the interior. We have to connect the dots, put the two symbols together to strike a note of realization. The interior is a tale told by a monkey. In the dream or interior, you play all the characters at the same time: the One that is many.
And this is the law of the flatland…here too we are playing all the characters, the One as the many but we believe we are just a one among many and everything is separated and alone…a place where being alone is self loathing, and we wear a mask to hide out pain in the labyrinth beneath the Opera.