Friday, July 10, 2015

RIP Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif as I (and millions of other women) first saw him - riding out of the desert, the Sheik incarnate. He and Peter O'OToole were the perfect yin and yang of that movie and the object of millions of fantasies.

Dr. Zhivago was a great film and in it Sharif gave his greatest acting performance. When I first saw Dr. Zhivago I still fell hopelessly in love with with both him and Julie Christie. In the film the doctor meets Lara - he is smitten - circumstances take them apart. But we, the audience, know and yearn for the inevitable.

Romantic drama - yet today's millennials find the film a bore. "Where's the action?". "It's too long." They simply don't get romanticism that twists and aches, consider the plot a silly waste of time, and in the age of Tinder can't be bothered with tragic love. And that pretty much explains why there are no romantic drama films of this caliber anymore. And also explains the state of today's films, its actors and why so very few are memorable.

His parents were Syrian/Lebanese Catholics like my grandfather's people; maybe that's one of the reasons that I adored him (me and millions of people). The culture that he came from in the Middle East has been demolished by today's bigotry and violence. But his reputation will remain as an example of a kinder, gentler, more tolerant time.

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