Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My observation--social media (again)

Facebook is a conversation. Twitter is an exciting but crowded cocktail party of which you catch the pieces of conversations.

Personal stuff again

It has been a good two days. Although it's still crisp/cold for me, the sun is shining and it's still light when I drive home (even better with Daylight Savings coming). I was productive at home and feel energetic about projects for the first time in ages.

But here's the dilemma--I have been here (that sense of a real space again) before. Where I clean and begin projects and feel good and optimistic and the real problems I have seem smaller and beyond my control so I worry less.

And it always ends. Am I mildly bi-polar? Is it possible to be mildly bi-polar? Bi-polar seems so much the diagnosis of the moment that I am wary of using it.

And each time I think, how can I cling to this and make it last and is that even under my control.

Life during Peace

Watched Before Night Falls, always wanted to see it, partially because it garnered so much praise, and partially because I had heard about Johnny Depp's daring performance in it, and I wanted to see that.

But it is Javier Bardem's movie--every second, from the young student with high hopes for Castro's revolution who is quickly disillusioned by the brutal crack downs (just as in Persepolis) for both his writing and his homosexuality. Are all revolutions doomed to betray themselves?

It is a harrowing and beautiful film with Bardem reading Arenas own words in the original language. I cannot now remember how much of the film was in Spanish and how much in English, it flowed so beautifully together.

It made me want to read the writer--what more can a film do for a writer?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Times of War

I recently watched Persepolis, The Reader, and Hotel Rwanda, each in their own way about living through war and the things we do to survive. How much would you do, what would you do, most importantly, what would you do to survive.

Persepolis is the story of a girl/young woman, growing up in the aftermath of the fall of the Shah. At the beginning her liberal parents are full of hope for the new regime, but it is soon clear that the western freedoms enjoyed under the Shah are gone. They fear for their daughter's outspoken protest, and yet, it is at their knee that she has learned to speak up. Our heroine is packed off to Vienna where she gets into the kind of troubles that a young woman alone in a strange city might be prone to--fights with landlords, as she puts them, banal love affairs. Hers is an easy war, even when she returns, until one of her friends is killed running from a mixed (illegal) party. The war is a background to them until it collides with them and they live as if it is a distant thing as much as possible. Persepolis is animated, by the way, in a glorious black and white that echoes the book.

What can be said about Hotel Rawanda, beyond the obvious--this is a heart and gut-wrenching movie of personal bravery in the face of unbelievable odds. Could I be capable of such bravery when it would be so easy to bribe a few people and save my own family? The most telling line:
'You're not even 'ni**ers' you're Africans.' In other words the West has no reason to help you and they're not coming.

The Reader is a harder question if not a harder movie to watch. Boy has affair with older woman that shapes every relationship he has after only to find that she was a Nazi. He has info. that could get her a reduced sentence--that she is illiterate--which she is too ashamed to use in her defence and does not use it during the trial, but then sends her tapes of him reading--as they did when he was her lover--through her incarceration. We share his sympathy with her, and yet we are stuck with and lost with her crimes--that she sent women to their deaths repeatedly, many whom she had read to her. Her final act and his final question leave the watcher, as lost as he is.