Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sun Worshipper

As a small child, I saw a movie that affected me deeply. Even now, in my thirties, I continue to think of this film from time to time. I remember clearly how it made me feel when I saw it. It haunts me to some degree.

For years, I remembered this film in snippets. I would flash back to images, feelings and ideas. The name of the film, the actors, the characters were all gone. I only remembered a few distinct details, and one central theme: rain.

It was a story about children, living in a place where it always rained. Their lives were obviously affected by this constant rain, and the fact that most of them had never even seen the sun.

But there was one girl in the group who did remember the sun. She always talked about how wonderful it was, to the point that the other children were jealous and hateful toward her. She was different, and therefore ostracized. I remember understanding her pain clearly. I knew what it was like to be picked on, as all children do to some degree. It made me very sad.

Yesterday, I decided my wondering about this mystery film had gone on long enough. God invented Google for a reason, after all. Seek, and ye shall find.

After several attempts, I found it, and apparantly, I wasn't the only person looking. It was based on a short story by Ray Bradbury called All Summer in a Day. The movie came out in 1982, when I was 7. I'm not sure how old I was when I finally saw it, but it was around then.

I don't remember much about being 7, but I do remember this movie. What always comes back is the ending of the story. The girl misses out on experiencing this miracle - that she appreciated like no one else did - all because she was different. As a child, it was devastating to think about. I don't think I had ever seen a movie that didn't end happily. It was an awakening in a sense, which probably explains why I still remember it today.


I thought it was appropriate that I finally put this mystery to rest yesterday. As I got home from work, the most amazing thing happened. For the first time in nearly two weeks, the clouds suddenly parted and the sun came out. Blue sky and everything.

Nothing makes you appreciate the miracle of the sun like day after day of endless grey.


Kelly said...

Sure hope you and the fam are doing OK with all the flooding. My family's baling out pretty bad, and some have had to evacuate.

Never heard of that movie though...surprisingly.

fridythirteen said...

Oh, my goodness...
I was the same age in 1982, when this movie came out. It affected me in a very similar way. At the end of the movie, when the girl is sort of desperately reaching for the lonely patch of light coming through the basement window, I just lost it; that girl was me in so many ways.

There was a PBS program at the time called "Wonderworks" that showed feature-length movies based on child-appropriate literature, and I'm pretty sure they packaged this movie as part of that program. Most of the films in the program were really well-done, but frequently ended rather sadly. I remember an adaptation of "Bridge to Terabithia", for instance, and for some reason I think "Harrison Bergeron" may have been another one...there seemed to be a lot of them with themes of creative/special folks being destroyed by the small-minded. Rather subversive for children's movies, which is probably why they've stuck with me for so long.

Nicola said...

I can't believe it!!! I remember this film exactly how you describe feeling and remembering it. No-one I've ever mentioned it to remembered it. So glad I found this post. I can still see some of the scenes in my head. I remember making my brother and sisters watch it because there was only 1 tv and it looked good....they all liked it in the end.