In less than a week, I’ll be in Nashville to witness the total eclipse. Yes, I am that into the idea that I actually took the day off from work, purchased a plane ticket, and booked a hotel. (It’s been impossible to reserve a rental car, so I’m hoping the cab/ride share options in Nashville are plentiful). I even managed to coerce my friend Beth into the whole scheme. (Husband Tim opted out of this run. But I’ve already asked him to “save the date” of April 8, 2024 – that’s when the next eclipse will be visible from the U.S. Watch out for us in seven years, Dallas.)
And I’ve been living with total eclipse brain. The lyrics to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” have been going through my head non-stop. (Once upon a time there was light in my life / But now there’s only love in the dark). And this eclipse falls on a Monday, during a new moon. So, there’s Duran Duran’s “New Moon on Monday” (I light my torch and wave it for the / New moon on Monday). Also Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse,” the last song on The Dark Side of the Moon.* Problem with that one, though, is that it always intermingles in my head with “Brain Damage,” the song right before it.
So there’s Roger Waters’ voice knocking around my noggin, singing “The lunatic is in my head / The lunatic is in my head / You raise the blade, you make the change / You rearrange me ‘til I’m sane.” Thanks for that, Roger. Didn’t need you to help me feel loonier than I already do.
I could spend some time on the relation of the moon to lunacy, how the Latin word for moon (Luna), led to the word for moon-struck (lunaticus). But I won’t.
Instead, I’ll focus on my most memorable eclipse from a movie. And that would be Ladyhawke.
For those of you who have been paying attention, this movie has come up before in this space. In a post about Lent, and in another one about my family. Because, truth is, I love Ladyhawke. Sure, one could argue that the Alan Parsons Project soundtrack dates the movie; but I would argue right back that it cements it into a certain Zeitgeist, the heady days of the mid 1980s. When movies could still be unapologetic about their cornball aspects.
In Ladyhawke, Navarre (Rutger Hauer) is this kind of masterless Samurai (but it’s set in medieval France, so he’s not really a Samurai), and Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer) is his star-crossed love. They’ve been cursed by an evil Catholic bishop (John Wood) to live half-lives as animals. Isabeau spends her days as a hawk, and Navarre spends his nights as a wolf. So they never get to see each other.
But that’s where the eclipse comes in! The drunk monk Imperius (Leo McKern) foresees the coming eclipse, and, with the help of Philipe Gaston (Matthew Broderick) convinces Navarre and Isabeau to confront the evil bishop as humans, together, during a total eclipse.
It’s really a grossly underrated movie, in my opinion. Richard Donner directed it, it’s got this lights-out cast, and the setting is to die for.
And to conclude, if looked at a certain way, who is the real hero in Ladyhawke? The eclipse!
*Yes, I realize Dark Side of the Moon pre-dates the ’80s. But I first listened to it in the ’80s, so it gets lumped in there.