29 April 2016 | jdesando
I just like hanging with Papa.
"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." Ernest Hemingway
Apropos of Hemingway's minimalism, director Bob Yari's Papa Hemingway in Cuba features his life only at the beginning of the Cuban revolution in 1959 and the end of his powers as a writer and a lover. Although it is always difficult to imagine such a gifted man giving up on life, this film is explicit about his self perceptions and his delusions.
As played by look alike Adrian Sparks, Hemingway dismisses most other adults but is solicitous of a young writer/reporter, Ben Myers (Giovanni Ribisi), who has written to Hemingway and is subsequently invited to visit the manse in Cuba. Ben is really this screenwriter Denne Bart Peticlerc, who had the original experience with Hemingway.
While learning to fish from the master, Ben also learns of the trouble in paradise, beginning with family and moving from there to the feds. Although such discord often begets great writing, for neither writer does it provide much inspiration.
Not that Hemingway had it easy, for the FBI, the IRS, and seemingly the mob want a piece of the enormous celebrity known as Papa. Ben has his difficulties with his own absence from his love, Debbie (Minka Kelly), and inevitably incurs the wrath of the man himself for mistakenly thinking Ben is selling him out. By then, the genius was suspecting just about everyone.
As in recent bios of Chet Baker and Hank Williams, the abuses of these artists become clichéd, one for alcohol, another for drugs, another for womanizing, and the list goes on. Although Hemingway's story here walks the same path, few can match the splendor of his oeuvre.
I just enjoy being in his presence, and while no new territory, I am happy to be reminded that humans can achieve such a sublime state and yet be as flawed as I.