I don’t know why. Honestly.
The dialogue stills my heart even after all these years.
I don’t know why I’m drawn to the tale of a courtesan facing the Inquisition on the charges of witchcraft; a courtesan who could not have the man she loved through wedlock but only through whoring; a courtesan, beautiful and educated, a far cry from the common woman in Venice then.
I’ll admit one thing though; this tale never ceases to bring tears to my eyes.
Three reviews in a week are perhaps too much. Maybe I’ll save this for another day. Before doing so, I leave you with an excerpt from the film based on the life of one Venetian courtesan, Veronica Franco.
I will confess, Your Grace.
I confess that as a young girl I loved a young man
who would not marry me for want of a dowry.
I confess I had a mother who taught me a different way of life;
one I resisted at first but learnt to embrace.
I confess I became a courtesan,
traded yearning for power,
welcomed many rather than be owned by one.
I confess I embraced a whore’s freedom over a wife’s obedience.
I confess I find more ecstasy in passion than in prayer.
Such passion is prayer.
I confess I pray still to feel the touch of my lover’s lips,
his hands upon me, his arms enfolding me.
Such surrender has been mine.
I confess I hunger still to be filled and inflamed.
To melt into the dream of us, beyond this troubled place
to where we are not even ourselves.
To know that always always this is mine.
If this had not been mine, if I had lived another way,
a child to a husband’s whim, my soul hardened from lack of touch and lack of love,
I confess such endless days and nights
would be punishment far greater than any you could mete out.
You, all of you, you who hunger so for what I give
but cannot bear to see such power in a woman,
you call God’s greatest gift, ourselves, our yearning, our need to love,
you call it filth and sin and heresy.
I repent that there was no other way open to me.
I do not repent my life.