Friday, September 19, 2014

Maureen Dowd and Robert Redford Chat at Boston's JFK Library

Marash Girl dreamed that she stood in line at the JFK auditorium waiting to get Robert Redford's autograph, but by the time she got to the front of the line, neither she nor Robert Redford had paper to write on.  It was so disappointing!  But surprise of surprises, when she got home, there he was at her home, socializing with the family.  But that was only a dream . . . a dream that she had after attending the conversation between Maureen Dowd and Robert Redford at Boston's JFK Library.  Here's what happened.

Because Marash Boy had worked with Redford at Sundance many years ago,  because Marash Boy often reads Maureen Dowd's columns in the New York Times, because Marash Boy has always been interested (and sometimes involved) in politics, Marash Girl thought he might enjoy the conversation that was to take place between Maureen Dowd and Robert Redford at the J.F.K. Library.  Marash Boy, not accustomed to arriving early -- ever -- was not in a hurry, and when Marash Girl suggested that the lunchroom would close at 4:30, he agreed to leave the house at 4.  But when they arrived at 4:30, the parking lot was full, and the doors to the auditorium had opened to accommodate the crowds that were attending the event -- at 4:30 there were only 2 empty seats left, and those seats were in the last row at the back.  Marash Girl grabbed Marash Boy's jacket as he sat at a table nibbling on his salad while overlooking Boston Harbor; she ran back to the auditorium to protect the two seats that were left.  The only problem was that the two seats were too far back to see the stage or to snap a believable photo of the two stars (see photo below).  Visible, however, was the fact that not a person under 50 years old was in the room, and that included the presenters.

Maureen Dowd and Robert Redford: two redheads face off on stage!
At the heart of Robert Redford's message was T.S. Eliot's dictum in his "Four Quartets: "For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”  Using the Sundance Festival as an example, Robert Redford said, "The Festival is not as much fun as at the beginning . . . It's the work that's fun . . . awards have never meant that much to me."

Robert Redford spent his formative years in a lower working class Mexican community in Los Angeles, California.  Growing up, his friends were all Mexican, but, he noted, "After World War II, we were no longer friends.  It was something about the 'American' thing," he said.   "This is a country that's all about winning . . . " he continued.  Growing up, Redford was always great in sports, the Red Sox his favorite team, and Ted Williams his hero. His film THE NATURAL was "a homage to the baseball that I loved," Redford commented.  "I don't know what's happened to sports now, with the money and violence . . . maybe it's television that did it . . ." 

Redford admitted that he draws, though he doesn't paint, that he writes poetry, though he can't recite . . . and that his favorite poet is William Butler Yeats.

"I never look back, but I keep trying . . . , " he said.  "Once I complete a film, I never view it again. . . I'm not comfortable seeing myself on film . . . I finish a film and move on!"  When concluding his films, he admitted, he likes to leave the audience with a question.  

He talked a lot about the fun times he had in his friendship with Paul Newman.

"Filmmaking in Hollywood," he said, "is a business which cannot afford to take chances. . . the fact which made it so important to support independent films . . .  and the reason I built Sundance."  After 6 years, though, he realized the Sundance films were going nowhere, which is why he started the Sundance Festival.  "It's the climb up that's really exciting . . . success itself is not as much fun."

On politics, Redford said of Obama, "I think he's a good man with a good mind who is over his head. . it took him too long to figure out 'how it works'", said Redford.  "There's sufficient debate about Isis and whether we should take immediate action . . . it all started in the prior administration -- Obama inherited a rotten deal with a lot of costs  . . . it makes me sad."  

Redford referred to the Republicans as the "Looney Tunes without the Merry Melodies".

1 comment:

  1. Had expected to see something about Redford/Maureen the day after the presentation, but there was nothing. Now I see why. Your article today was great! You shared so much insight about the man, his experiences, and his thinking about the political situation.