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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Sound of Music Moment

The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies ever--something I've mentioned before on this blog--but there's one scene that's particularly poignant. It happens after Maria and the captain have gotten married and they return home from their honeymoon to discover that the Nazis have taken over Austria and put a flag on the captain's home. He's also been ordered to join the navy of the Third Reich, something Captain von Trapp doesn't want to do.

After they're caught pushing their car in an attempt to escape, the family claims they're on their way to perform at the festival. This is where the moment I find so moving happens. The captain sings "Edelweiss" in front of a crowd of Austrians with the Nazis in the audience, and as the camera pans the crowd, there's this sense of despair that comes across the screen.

Maybe it's because I know that the Nazi occupation lasts until the allies defeat Germany, but I felt as if these people knew their lives were forever changed and that oppression and fear would be their companions for years to come.

And as they sing "Edelweiss" along with the captain and his family, I can imagine the people knowing that things had changed and not for the better, but fearful of the Nazis. Too fearful to speak out against them and so their one act of defiance that they dare take is to sing a heartfelt version of "Edelweiss."

There's a darkness in the cinematography, a lack of lighting that enhances this sense of fear, despair, and yet the song suggests there's hopefulness. That quietly the citizens will hang on to their Austria.

Now, my knowledge of World War II Austria is vague. I'm not sure how many people embraced Nazi occupation like Rolfe did and how many just went along to stay alive like Herr Detwiler and how many openly opposed the Nazis like Captain von Trapp. I might not even be interpreting the moment in the movie correctly. Maybe that's not what the director intended. It doesn't matter, though--it's how I see that scene in the film.

I think that's one of the things current-day movies have lost. The subtle moments that allow the viewer to place their own interpretation on them. That's something that's totally awesome about books. They're more collaborative. The author sketches out the scene and the reader brings her own imagination to envision the scene in her mind.

But The Sound of Music offers some of that and remains one of my most favorite films ever.