By Tony d’Ambra
The fog of angst seeps from the faces of two doomed lovers in the dank gloom of Le Havre. Jean is on the run and Nelly is trapped in a psychic prison as real as the physical constraints on her existence. Happiness is something that may exist but neither knows it.
They meet by chance one night in a broken-down bar on the waterfront amongst the detritus of an ephemeral humanity. Panama’s is a haven for the down-and-out named for the hat of the publican, an old shaman with a rusted soul as deep as the canal he visited in his youth. Father confessor of an unholy convent for lost souls. He keeps his counsel, asks no questions, and strums his guitar.
And everywhere the fog and the harbor with rusting hulks at anchor ever-waiting transport for deliverance. The two lovers stroll as tentative friends with a hope as forlorn as it is sublime, when a bright clarity intrudes, a hoodlum with a malice as sharp as his clothes and his shave, and as evil as his cowardice.
A night of bliss follows. Jean and Nelly find love at a sea-side carnival and that elusive union we all seek – in a rented room. They keep missing pernicious Fate a drunken vagabond. The glory of a new dawn is soon shattered. They each leave alone. Fate occupies the sheets of last night’s passion, and they are lost.