A Conversation with Isabella Rossellini


In early November, 2010, I attended a screening of David Lynch’s 1986 film, “Blue Velvet,” starring Isabella Rossellini.  Ms. Rossellini was present to answer questions from the audience regarding “Blue Velvet” and her newest work, “Seduce Me.”  Some of the short (2 minutes) humorous vignettes from her Sundance Channel series, “Seduce Me,” about animal reproduction and mating practices, were also screened at the event.  “Seduce Me” is especially targeted to internet audiences.

Having found a seat very close to the stage, I was fortunate to be one called upon to address Ms. Rossellini.  I complimented her for “breaking down rigidities regarding sexuality” in both “Blue Velvet” (1986) and “Seduce Me” (2010) “which not only has helped to free human beings, throughout the world, in awareness of their sexuality, but has also helped to free their spirits – because the spirit is made more whole when sexuality is not repressed.”  She flashed a glowing smile at me when I said those words to her.

I had previously shared with her the example of my life’s experience, while I was growing up in South Georgia, during the days of  Jim Crow. I told her that – like the young, innocent characters in “Blue Velvet” – the 1950s South had a sweet innocence on the surface, but underneath was the ugliness of the violence toward African-Americans, if not always to their bodies then, certainly, to their spirits.  I said that I thought that much of the white Southerners’ violence and anger, especially toward the African-American male, during that era of Southern history, stemmed from the white Southerners’ own unacknowledged darker sexuality which was projected onto the Black male.

In response to me, she said that her nude scene in “Blue Velvet” was meant to show the complete vulnerablity of her character, Dorothy Valens, to those stronger forces of power surrounding her (represented by the violence in Dennis Hopper’s character, Frank Booth).  She said that the fact that Dorothy was a first generation immigrant to America made her all the more vulnerable to power because she lacked the support of generational family ties and she had limited language skills with which to contact authorities regarding the web of violence and perverted sexuality to which she had been caught in “Blue Velvet.”

Ms. Rossellini is an authentic and engaging person. Her focus and eye contact were totally on me as we exchanged ideas, even as the audience “listened in.”  She was completely “in the moment.” Her face was vibrant with life and her gestures, through her body, were perfectly coordinated to her thoughts.  I thought to myself in observing her as we spoke: “Here is a woman, totally centered and ‘together,’ who is generously sharing herself with others.”

Ms. Rossellini seems to have found herself beyond labels, and she appears to know deep inside, beyond words, that we are all essentially equal on this planet. The manner in which she listened to my thoughts and, then, expressed her own thoughts to me confirmed that.

Isabella Rossellini is an evolved human being who is “giving back” in her middle years.

In the last post, I said that we should love all throughout the world because “all are simply human – just like you and me.”  Being “simply human” includes having both the forces of  light and the darkness within one’s consciousness.  If we fail to acknowledge the darkness within each of us, then we will unwittingly, as individuals and as a society, pervert the light into something less than it can be.  Our consciousnesses will become fragmented (broken), in other words, instead of being made whole, as was shown in Joanne Woodward’s Academy Award performance in “The Three Faces of Eve,” which was based on a true case study in Georgia.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3  This fact connects us spiritually to every other human being on Earth.

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