Peter Lando - The Dark Night & A Friendship Fades AwaySunday, January 25, 2009
I may have been some 13 or more years ago in the month of May when I was pruning my laurel hedge. A car stopped and a man got out and with that gentle dolphin-like smile of his and a warm soft-spoken baritone voice said, "How are you Alex? I haven't seen you or many of my other friends since I became part of the film business."
I looked at him and instantly felt the vacuum of a friendship I had treasured. I felt the loss, the loss iteself, before me. What he did and friendship somehow were at odds. I have "lost" many others to the film business.
Peter Lando has first entered my life, gently at lunch some 27 years ago. He had arrived in tow of free-lance writer Kerry McPhedran. Both Lando and McPhedran were working on a job of museum display work for D (David) Jensen & Associates. Lando and I began to talk and he described his interest in anthropology and mentioned Native Canadians. I decided to push his button and told him that there was no way a long house and Native Canadian chant could ever compete with Gothic cathedrals and Bach cantatas. Our conversation grew heated and at one point Lando stopped and said, "You are joking, aren't you?" I think I may have answered, "Sort of."
That evening Lando called and said, "I had a good time today. We should meet at the Railway Club and converse. We could invite some friends who also like to converse." And that is how our long, every Thursdays at noon lunches began lasted for at least 20 years. The stresses of freelance work, city traffic and other factors finally killed the every Thursday meetings which we now hold perhaps once a year.
At some point Lando married a wonderful South African woman, Marianne Kaplan. She is an independent filmmaker with lots of gumption. She and Lando decided to get married in South Africa so that they could have an excuse to enter the country with a movie camera. Kaplan wanted to work on a documentary on apartheid.
About 9 years ago I ran into the Lando's (by then they had two boys) on a ferry to Saltspring that stopped at many islands. We had a chat and Kaplan looked at me and said, "Why have you disappeared? Why have you not called us? " I felt terrible but I coldy answered, "You guys are in the film business. You guys just disappeared."
On Friday I read in the Vancouver Sun that Peter Lando has received an Oscar nomination for his set design work in The Dark Night. I felt proud of the man and I wanted not only to wish him well but to hug him with warm congratulations. But I also felt a bitter loss that the price somehow for me was the fading away of a friendship.
I find it fitting that I looked through all my photo files and could not find one image of the man with the gentle dolphin-like smile.