Thursday, May 21, 2009

They'll all end badly.

Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Watching one film every two weeks (instead of every other night or so) has helped me slow down my thinking and allowed me to roll a film around my mind for several days after seeing it, instead of rushing on to the next images.

I didn't particularly love Gomorrah, but some of its story and imagery will stick with me whether I want it to or not. The only sympathetic characters are a pair of psychopathic children (see above picture - yes, it's the best scene in the film), another child eager to lose his innocence, and an adult messenger whose entire life has been entangled in mafia business; now he wants out but is faced with the grim certainty that the only way out is death. There is one other youth who manages to walk away, but the crimes that he was involved in were far removed from (though related to) the street violence of the others. He walked away from a form of white collar crime where the killing was indirect. All of the stories are woven together fairly neatly and everything resolves, for better or for worse, leaving the city and its inhabitants in the same condition that it started in, minus a few more bodies.

What's it like to grow up in a city, like Sodom, where you get some new neighbors and your first thought is to stir up a mob of men to take turns defiling the guests in their house? As a father, your first thought of protecting your guests involves turning over your daughters to the mob instead? A place where the easiest way to survive is moral compromise at best and active complicity with evil at worst? I've never known such a place and I am grateful for that.

I've got to leave the library and get to work! Brandon, did you see that Lars von Trier dedicated Antichrist to Tarkovsky?! I'm a believer in his sincerity even if he can't resist being the showman and braggart that he is. I think that he's trying to be honest, come what may.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chasing Children

On Sunday, I took Abby and the girls to see Disney's Earth. I had a mixed reaction to the film. All of the animal footage is great, but the way it is all tied together doesn't quite live up to the ambition evidenced in the movie's title. Even on the grand scale in which the film tries to operate, all we are seeing is a tiny, tiny fraction of this crazy mother-ship we call Earth. Despite my reservations about the film and not being much of an animal documentary fan to begin with, going to see Earth was one of my favorite trips to the theater this year because I got to bring my girls with me. I watched them watching at least as much as I watched the screen. Their reactions to so much natural wonder projected large in front of them was clear on their faces. It was beautiful, watching them enjoy something so obviously, reminding me why I love movie theaters and movies, that these places make me, too, become like a little child, wide open to wonder.

After the end credits, a woman came up to where we were seated and kneeled down next to me. She said something like this... "You don't know me. My name is Anne. I was talking to your wife before the film and telling her what a lovely family you have. Your girls are beautiful. Here, I want you to have this [she hands me a wad of money]. Take your girls out to see another movie sometime."

Thank you, Anne. We'll be seeing Up soon and we'll be thinking of you.