A Fine Film For My Lttle PrincessSunday, November 27, 2011
In this photograph of my first cousin Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena and me we may have been 7 or 8 years old. I don’t remember the name of the dog, one of the many that Wency’s father, my Uncle Tony would bring to our garden and attempt to persuade my mother to keep.
Those were the weekend days when Wency would come with his father and mother, Tía Sarita, to fly Uncle Tony’s U-control model airplanes in a nearby football field. Wency and I played games of the imagination in our long narrow garden. One day we were pirates, the next, perhaps, we were cowboys. We played war with toy soldiers digging out fortifications and ditches in my mother’s precious garden.
Those were the weekend days when Wency and I would imagine crossing the Río Corrientes on horseback while scaring off (successfully) the pirañas that attempted to thwart us in our attempt to save the princess on the other side. She would had been captured by terrible Jívaro headhunters who were about to cut off her head and shrink it as Amazonian Jívaros were wont to do.
Those were the weekend days when Wency and I would go to the old galpón (shed) in the back where I had a large crate fitted with some boards. On one board I would lean a broom stick to which I had nailed a paper plate. On the crate’s floor I had a couple of smaller boards leaning on bricks. The crate and nailed paper plate was our car and steering wheel. The small boards were the gas pedal and the brake pedal. We drove the car very quickly because one of us was Juan Manuel Fangio (the other the co-pilot/driver) on his yearly participation in the great Argentine cross country road race in souped up Fords and Chevrolets.
When our games of imagination met up with calls for lunch or dinner we would invariably ask Uncle Tony, "¡Contanos un cuento!" His cuentos were always about pirates, ghosts or handsome espadachines like d'Artagnan.
I don’t quite remember when our exercises in imagination ceased to be and the garden became a garden and nothing more and the crate was but a crate. I guess that may have been the time when I finally realized that it was impossible for Santa Claus to deliver so many presents around the world in one evening.
Today Rosemary, Lauren, 9, and I watched Alfonso Cuarón’s delightful 1995 film A Little Princess based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. We enjoyed the film I found for $5.00 at the now legendary for me bin at the Canadian Superstore on Marine Drive.
The film is beautifully made, just right, with the villain being villainous enough but yet villainous enough that she does not reform at the end as she would in a politically correct film of the present. Cuaron's film entertained Lauren. It entertained Rosemary and me, too.
There is little magic in the film except that in the lead protagonist’s imagination. Her father does tell her that magic exists for anybody that believes in it. But a rarity in these days the film features a little girl with a penchant for telling stories. They are stories of her rampant imagination. In these stories it is the imagination that will provide special effects that can never be realized by the film kind.
By the end of A Little Princess I wondered if I could sit on an old crate and experience the magic within my imagination that would convert the crate into Fangio’s car. I believe that had I been just a tad younger (just a tad!) it would have been the case!