So Cold, and So Profound, and So Beautiful

So Cold, and So Profound, and So Beautiful[1]

It was almost monochromatic, shades of white breaking up into barely discernible scenes.  Everything seemed crystalline, brittle, about to crack.  Miles past the end of the world, but for the railroad tracks; and so cold, so very, very cold, cold personified; a glacial realm.

I remember watching Dr. Zhivago in early June of 1968, my last week at the Citadel, a deeply introspective time but one also touched by the ludicrous, conjecture about my future, speculation about a love never quite realized.

I remember many scenes in that movie: erotic scenes, disturbing scenes, mayhem, injustice, despair, but most of all, a scene that embodied what cold could be like, one that touched every sense and every emotion at the same time.  I remember a brilliant performance by an Egyptian actor that moved me at a time in my young life when I was not used to being moved, one that initiated a process of humanization, forcing me to realize that I might have been wrong in accepting premises about so many things, about every side in the Russian Revolution, about human nature, about propaganda, about lies, about truth, about futility, and, unexpectedly, about the nature of the evolving conflict in the Middle East.  It turned out Muslims were humans too.  Till, then I’d only heard the Israeli side of the story.

I wonder if anyone else felt all the things I felt.  Some may have, some must have, some, like me, must have heard the echoes and scented the traces of a blossoming epiphany.  I remember wishing, as I left the theater, that Diana had been with me.

I wonder if Omar Sharif knew that in that amazing dramatic role, he was opening windows onto a very different soul.  But it was so cold, and so profound, and so beautiful.

[1] © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2011; all rights reserved

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