Thursday, February 28, 2008
I really liked this movie. Perhaps for obvious reasons. Yes, it was the title that got me. I didn't even know what the film was about. It showed up on one of the suggestion pages of my Netflix. But, I didn't even read the brief synopsis. I like cafés, and I think it would be particularly romantic to be part of a story about a girl in a café. Especially if it was a foreign story, as this one was, being a foreign film.
It was Directed by David Yates, written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Mr. Bean, and Love Actually), and starring Bill Nighy and Kelly McDonald. Both actors were wonderful. Delightful, “tender and romantic.” There are some amazing, terribly awkward situations and quirky acting, which in my world makes for some great, realistic romantic comedy.
It is a romance and a comedy, but very political. The kind of political in which I am very much interested, even though it doesn't have a revolution. The context of the romance is around the G8 conference fictionally set in Reykjavik, Iceland, where eight of the most powerful world leaders summit to decide the working out of a commitment to put an end to extreme poverty, starvation, AIDS, and other things that cause innocent people to die. I believe that the producers of this film had some connection with the One campaign. That black and white commercial of famous actors, now politically involved, pleading with Americans to care about something besides themselves was included as an extra on the DVD.
It was a made for TV movie, distributed by HBO films. Tight Rope Productions (independent? I've never heard of them.) and the BBC produced it. Though, I'm not really sure, as the end credits were decidedly abbreviated almost in the tradition of classic films or, as was the case, television where nobody sees the credits anyway. Sad, because I would like to know who did several of the songs used in the movie. One of them was Staralfur by Sigur Rós, but the song after that... I think I've heard it before and I wish to hear it again. Perhaps it was a song by Damien Rice. I just watched the end of the film with the director's commentary on and they mentioned something about that.
Unfortunately for the reception of this film by those calling themselves critical, if you are opposed to the saving of lives in every part of the world, or you are at least opposed to any government's involvement in the literal saving of life, rather than that country's own personal economic interests, then you will think this film to be a trite piece of propaganda, conveniently placing it into the same category as (red)T-shirts, white arm bands with ONE stamped into them, and music by U2.
I definitely recommend seeing this movie. However, un caveat: it has not been rated, probably because it never was in theaters and so didn't need to be. It has brief partial? nudity, an implied, unseen act of immoral sex, and the “f” word, said quickly four times. (It is a British film, so perhaps it matters more that they say “bloody” in a few, much more prominent situations.) It probably would have received a PG-13 by the MPAA, though that fourth “f” would technically have pushed it into the R category. Other than that it feels like a solid PG film, or G, but children would find it boring and adults are averse to watching movies rated G.
The director said something profound about British films and personalities being The Spy and American films and personalities being The Cowboy. The Spy is hidden, subversive. Who he really is, hidden underneath the surface, provides the tension and conflict. The Cowboy is brash and upfront. He speaks and acts brashly, seemingly uncaring about the results of his actions on those around him. Something like that. While it was being said I thought it was profound, but I've forgotten now what that thought was or where it was going. Oh, well. You think about it.
And, while you're doing that, think about this, it was the title card of the end credits.
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.
You can be that great generation.”
Nelson Mandela, 2005
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
“He who listens to a life-giving rebuke
will be at home among the wise.”
The wise are those who were rebuked while on the path leading toward death, listened to that rebuke, and then turned to the path of life
The wise had made choices that should have killed them, but they were saved by listening and responding when rebuked.
The wise aren't perfect, but respond when disciplined.
The wise should have been dead;
The wise have life instead.
How do you become wise?
By listening to correction.
If you want to become wise,
surround yourself with those who will give to you life-giving rebuke.
“The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.”
The LORD is the one who gives life-giving rebuke.
All others who are wise give what they have received from Him.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Saturday, February 9, 2008
I wish that I had something to say.
Do I have anything to say?
What should I say, do I have a voice, do I use it?
Should I use it?
So many that have gone before me have spoken,
have seen the world they live in, and spoken out loud.
I feel compelled to speak, to have a voice.
Am I the complacent silent?
What would we speak about?
To write the words of the poet
To sing the songs of the lover
To dream all my dreams out loud
To paint all the waves of the artist
To shine all the light of the eye
To show all the scenes of my dream
Let the words fly, let the songs out
Let the cameras roll, don't close your eyes
When I go,
I want to go with my hands all messy with paint
'cause I didn't get all washed away.
Somewhere I've been
Maybe just who I am
I was made to hold,
but only so much;
I can't hold it any more.
An artist, a musician, a poet,
Some read my words
Some see my images
Many more my work: moving frames and sound
Few have seen the paint from my own fingers:
wrapped away in some closet, dusty and dim
Few are they who hear my voice
And no one hears my song.
I do not speak
I do not shout
I sing where none can listen
I dream alone in my bed
I heard songs
Real and live
New and shy
they were sung and we heard it
we felt it and we knew it
we said it should be heard on stage,
recorded on an album: 15 songs, someone said.
I was glad that she had played.
But, oh, how I ached deep, deep, deep within.
I held a guitar in my lap, with no skill to play
I held air in my lungs, with no words to say
If I could just SCREAM and let it out,
I would have, but I couldn't;
I almost walked outside and tried
If I could peel back my skin
so all who need to see would see...
I don't even know what it looks like, what it is
But it must come out
Captured and Displayed
It must be sung.
Is it even written?
Did I write it?
Was it written long ago?
This happens every time.
It's not the first
and it won't be the last.
Continually I seek out
the rooms where the music plays.
It is there that I am haunted
I am captured
I am where I know that I must be
I am alive
Alive, but ready to explode
Eager for my seams to burst
For my fragile frame to shatter,
spilling music everywhere.
I can't express
can't bring it to life
God, what would you have me to say?
You who made me for this
And formed me for this
You who know me
what I must know to do
Oh, how music stirs my heart and inspires me to play, to create, to take pictures, to make movies, to write poems, to sing songs, to write stories, to bring all my dreams into life. But, I can't, or I won't. I am moses before the burning bush, but I don't want to settle for Aaron's voice. I am Samuel hearing my name called in the night; I don't want to fear authority punished. I am Zechariah with John's name on my tung, but I don't want to wait nine months. I am full of song but cannot sing. I have seen a vision but cannot speak.
I am suddenly a guitar player who finds he has no arms. I am a mute with something urgent that must be said, but I don't even know what it is. All I feel is the urgency of expression and the incapacity to express. I feel that everything that I am, everything that I was made for, shaped for, raised for, every experience in my small strange life has been for something great that I don't know, that I desperately want to know so that I can obey and be at peace. So that I like David, can finish God's purpose in my generation.
I tell Him that I can't. I make no effort to train for that which might be necessary. I have not taught my fingers which strings to hold and which ones to strum. I left the piano on the stage of my junior high school. I dabbled in everything and mastered nothing. I left research unwritten, photos in the dark room, and films on their tapes; images locked away on hard drives with stories untold. Destroyed by my own lazy response to being overwhelmed.
What will it take? I listen and read and watch everything that I can, trying to piece together what has been said, hoping to be fueled and inspired: hoping, hoping, hoping.
“Just start writing!” my mother always said to me, again and again, when I was overwhelmed by some scholastic writing assignment. Maybe that's what I'm doing now, in hopes that something will come to life out of all this jumbled mess.