Baz Luhrmann’s new version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel, The Great Gatsby (earlier versions were made in 1926, 1949 and 1974) is the opening film at Cannes this year. So in honor of that, and to continue with the theme of first and last lines of famous books (see “Wordwise”,p.53), we’ll let Fitzgerald’s words speak for themselves.
The book starts with a bit of paternal wisdom, “In my younger and more venerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’”
But it ends on a more elegiac note: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Perhaps it is the very fact that Gatsby goes against the American tendency to prefer “happy endings” that has made it such an enduring classic…