Movie Mandalas – Beauty and the Beast
Another Movie, Another Mandala
Another couple of weeks have passed since my last Movie Mandala post. And it has been a time full of ups and downs. Not in events, mind you, but in my mood. It can be frustrating and tiring to feel these extremes so often. What bothered me more was the constant low I had for about a week there where everything just seemed to alternate between sadness and empty. Even worse, was feeling guilty because I know that it is unfounded to feel so empty because I have such a wonderful support group. Depression can be so illogical.
Moms Just Know
In the middle of that week I started to go through the usual routine of actively looking for something that would boost and guide my emotions in a way that made sense. I tried books I knew I liked, structured ones with a solid story. I tried music that usually picks me right up. But it seemed for a few more days the depression wasn’t letting up enough to let me process anything the way I usually would.
This is where my mom sat down to talk to me one evening, bringing up old stories of my childhood that made me curious, laugh, or react in surprise, gently nudging the conversation along from a distraction to my inner turmoil to slightly re-experiencing memories through recall. In this conversation she reminded me about the movies I used to love as a little kid, the ones that had me glued to the TV long enough for her to get anything done without having to watch me to keep me out of mischief. 😉
And it made me think… Which movies were they? What did I like so much about them? Which one held me the longest?
Hands down, it was Disney’s 1991 Beauty and the Beast.
Remembering the Music
I sat down on my bed and pulled open my laptop, searching for a place from which to stream the film from my childhood. It has a solid story thanks to Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise and screenplay writer Linda Woolsverton. It has good lessons thanks to the overall work of the story departments and lead character developers. And it has a sound basis in familiar folklore because of the original story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.
All good things. But those aren’t always the first things to stand out to a child of seven years old, as I was at the time. And as the movie started, it struck me with the first scene that I knew what had held me when I was so young: the design and the music.
The amazing visuals, thanks to the art direction of Brian McEntee and the supervising animators that designed the characters, such as Glen Keane, James Baxter, Mark Henn, and Andreas Deja, kept my attention on the screen the entire film. And together with the incomparable music by Howard Ashman, who dedicated time to this film in his last days, and Alan Menken, they seamlessly carried me from scene to scene, plot point to plot point, and feeling to feeling.
Do You Remember?
Do you remember it? The feeling of awe and mystery when the prologue began and you were pushed through the sunlit forest towards the castle towers in the distance? The music enticing you forward to the stained glass window as the voice of the narrator absorbed your attention? The transformation of the prince captured in the colored glass? And the despairing beast in the shadows of his castle as the scene pans away from the delicate, glowing rose in a storm?
(Press the bar to play.)
More than most characters in this movie, I see more parallels between me and the beast, especially when I’m in my lowest depression moods. I’m grouchy, ornery, and discouraged. But…I learn. I grow. I keep trying. And it’s nice to see the beast transform as a person before he turns back into a human.
Do you remember it? The grand staircase with a backdrop of draped, blue curtains as the first notes of the song drift in? The voice of the motherly Mrs. Potts telling you a story in song? The majesty of the golden ballroom as they spun in a waltz under the cherub fresco ceiling? And the golden gown standing out against the midnight blue of the starlit skies?
(Press the bar to play.)
I remember liking Belle because, although even as a child I didn’t really identify with her personality, I had similar interests and traits. I appreciated the intelligence of others. Fighting back was something I could do too. And I would also have loved to receive a library as a gift. The scene with Belle and the Beast during the song Tale as Old as Time was one of my favorites because it showed how far their relationship had come: forced together by circumstances and stubbornness, fighting to be heard, realizing they weren’t as different as they had thought, kindness through small and larger gestures, settling into the comfort of their new bond, love in it’s unspoken forms, and selflessness when letting each other go.
Do you remember it? That unsettling moment where the fear for Beast’s life turns into the certainty of his end as he lay there wounded on the wet stone balcony? The quiet music of their love song with the undertones of sadness as Beast said goodbye and Belle avowed her love? The hushed shift in orchestral tone from a settling darkness into the beginnings of a strong, steady triumph as the falling lights usher in the magical metamorphosis? The Beast lifted into the air in a gentle swirl of mist and light before his earned transformation? And the moment a hesitant and uncertain Belle found the affirmation that it was her love in the familiar blue eyes of the prince?
(Press the bar to play.)
Gaston is boorish, arrogant, and cunning. And quite frankly, it sounds like the voice of depression in my head, weaseling me out of a good mood with it’s over-confident, deceitful rationale. Touché, depression. Touché. But I know that, although it takes me longer on some occasions than others, I’ll bounce back. Even if it takes me a slow progression through a ballroom and a transformation to remember myself.
Until Next Time
I stitched my way through these mandalas slowly, using it as my ballroom scene. Remembering where I wanted to be again and using the meditative project as a way to get there. Feeling much better in the last few days, I know that I’m on a good path.
If you would like this amazing pattern for these mandalas, you can find it at the blog A Creative Being by Marinke. I encourage you to try i out for yourself; it can be so helpfully meditative when you need a simple project to get lost in the counting and get a beautiful result.