by J J Cohen
This video has been making its viral way over the internet for a while: so far five friends have sent it my way, and I am always way behind on these things, so I would imagine that most ITM readers looked at it a month or two ago (that's several decades in Internet Time).
As a medievalist, though, I prefer the original. I often show this sequence when I'm teaching Marie de France, Terry Gilliam's medieval doppelganger. Both these artists repeatedly envision how the quotidian shatters as romance -- with its ardor for reconfiguring reality's rules -- erupts.
EDIT 9 AM: Before I show the clip from The Fisher King in class, I tell my students how different Grand Central Station was in 1991, when NYC was more associated with danger, homelessness, and AIDS than tourism, cosmopolitanism, and excessive wealth. They scarcely believe me -- and so the film (which is about danger, homelessness, and AIDS, among other things) loses some of its force. My students were infants at the time portrayed in The Fisher King, but I am sufficiently elderly to remember the renovation of Grand Central Station (rededicated in 1998, its new incarnation not without controversy for those advocating for the rights of the homeless).
I remember going to NYC with a friend for the Queer Middle Ages conference that generated this book. My friend's sister-in-law worked at the station, and he convinced her to take us along the catwalk that cuts through the middle of Grand Central's enormous windows. Looking down from that height and watching passersby unknowingly arrange themselves into fluvial patterns, the station needed no waltz to make its expanses seem enchanted.