The movie was “Lili”, directed by Charles Walters, starring Leslie Caron. She is a waif who joins the carnival to pursue handsome, smooth-talking, womanizing carnival magician, Jean-Pierre Aumont, who, unfortunately for her, is married to glamorous, and sexy as hell, Zsa Zsa Gabor. Mel Ferrer is an embittered, crippled puppeteer in love with Leslie. At one point an enraged Mel slaps Leslie. Hard. As the credits rolled, I sobbed. My father was mortified. “Why are you crying?
The idea of one’s feelings being glorified. Although only six years old I already understood that the rule in life is to repress…but the people on our circa 1967 television screen were expressing their emotions so freely. In fact that seemed to be the point. What a gift to have someplace to put all my emotions!
It was instant addiction.
When Leslie went to Jean-Pierre’s trailer to tell him that she’d decided to leave the circus…wise considering that he was never going to love her…she apologized to him for having been such a nuisance. He looked at her, smiled, and said that she’d learned so much in her short time there…to which she replied…so simply…”We don’t learn. We just get older, and we know.”
I knew. I wanted to be a part of that world forever.