No one could believe me when I said I had never seen Harold and Maude. I honestly don’t know either how it slipped by me. It’s the perfect film for me: about how life is so amazing and at times so horrible that you have to seize every minute. Do somersaults. Scream. Steal a car.
I think I’d always thought it was an entirely different film. When I got my ticket for the Collection screening, I tried to remember what I’d heard about it, and only remembered that it involved a controversial relationship between a much older woman and a much younger man.
But, you guys, this film: it’s the best thing ever. Because of a woman called Maude.
I instantly identified with her. It was me — Maude was me. Or at least exactly how I hope to be at almost eighty, in love with creating art and chaos and whimsy. For me, the film was completely life-affirming, reminding me that it’s okay to feel so completely passionate about the wonderful things in life.
(On a side note, everything here at the Festival seems to have a sheen of goodness and wonder. Even the things that are difficult — standing in four feet of snow waiting for a ride, sleeping less than four hours in order to catch an early screening after a later night than you’d expected — are part of this great, magical experience of the Festival. I think I’ll call it “The Maude Principle.”)
Maude is my new favorite character, my new favorite outlook. Seeing her looming large up there on the screen, in a field of daisies, with wide-eyed, leisure-suited, “suicidal” Harold, watching her march ahead of a stranger’s funeral procession with her bright yellow umbrella to Cat Stevens — I fell in love.
I need to started making a list of things I’ve fallen in love with at the Festival, the things I didn’t expect: robots, the lights of the ski slope in the distance, and now a woman called Maude.