There is joy and sadness to streaming

A year in the life of a girl: dancing to the Swan Lake in Paul Mazursky’s “An Unmarried Woman”

In 1978 I did not see the film “Girlfriend,” in which Melanie Mayron played a photographer who has to sort out her life after her roommate moves out and gets married. I loved it. I tried more movies about women on their own, figuring things out: Ellen Burstyn in Martin Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974), Parker Posey in Zoe Cassavetes’s “Broken English” (2007). These films were good company, movies about people who are blue but taking measures not to be. The movies are oftenmoody, because of the geography and the characters where there is a changing perspective.

I found myself scrounging for scraps after I found that “An Unmarried Woman” is not available to stream. I thought an escape into French cinema would be enough to solve the problem. I struck out in the hot sun of Roger Vadim’s 1956 “And God Created Woman” and Jacques Deray’s 1969 “La Piscine,” neither offering the complex characters or the coziness I was seeking.

In my last article, I mentioned trying to be comfortable in the cold in-between. My mood was as bad as the weather so I turned to my cultural diet to change it. What would a syllabus look like for optimism? I had a scene in mind: Jill Clayburgh dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in her New York City apartment in Paul Mazursky’s “An Unmarried Woman.” The 1978 movie was a scene that stayed with me even after I had seen it many times as a teenager.

The year continues to get its bearings, to establish itself. It’s a collection of post holiday weeks, getting-going weeks, weeks for planning the year to come. We are at a on-ramp where we get up to speed. Soon we’ll be properly in the flow of traffic, soon we’ll really be on our way.

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