Tuesday, July 13, 2010
flowers and madness
In Akira Kurosawa's movie "Ran" (based loosely on King Lear) an elderly warlord goes mad from grief and defeat. His madness is expressed, repeatedly, by depicting him happily picking simple field flowers. Why do we associate madness with childish delights, and specifically appreciating flowers? Was Ferdinand the Bull lovable or crazy? He was a little crazy, right? But fighting in bullfights is also crazy, isn't it? Is giving in to our inner child so visibly a sign of madness, that the battles of the world have worn us down? Does it matter that the flowers are wild -- is a more cultivated blossom a sign of greater sanity? There is a wildflower garden in the new Millennium Park in Chicago -- it is oddly calming.