Monday, March 26, 2007

The Bladder is the Enemy

That, and what passes for "small" sodas at the movie theater. Sheesh! I saw The Lives of Others this weekend, the German movie that won the Oscar for best foreign film, and it was amazing. Amazing and gripping, and I advise you not to drink a "small" soda when you go to see it, lest you also have to choose between the lesser of two agonies and get up and miss something!

There was a preview for the French movie whose name escapes me -- I think the French title was Indigenes? Maybe? It's about the French Algerian troops who fought to try to liberate France from the Nazis and were never truly recognized for their sacrifice. I've heard it's good, and the trailer already made me cry. I can't stand scenes of soldiers running to certain death. I mean, I can't take it. Even a glimpse of it, a thought of it. The end of Gallipoli, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, and so many other movies, and all the stuff I read recently about WWI and trench warfare. Frick. I weep. I want to kick people. Why are we like this? How twisted is it that the very worst in humanity brings out this amazing, this unbelievable bravery? To do that. To run at an enemy who will most certainly kill you.

I heard a bit on the radio once, probably on This American Life, about a family who never even knew their father/grandfather had a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in France in WWII. He was this utterly meek, unassuming old man, and when he told the story of what he'd done to earn that medal, I totally lost it. I couldn't do the story justice after all this time, but there are so many other stories like it, these bright points of human magnificence in the midst of our terrible. . . awfulness. What to make of it? Of us?

What also got me thinking about this was an amazing actor in Deadwood: Brad Dourif -- horror movie alumni and formerly the sleazy Grima Wormtongue of LOTR -- who plays the doctor and manages to create a character whose story really extends way way beyond the limited scope of his role in the actual show. In his physical mannerisms, his twitchiness and blinkiness and quick outrage, he creates a wreck of a Civil War doctor and makes you imagine what it might have been like to try to live after that. I mean, a Civil War doctor. It can't get much worse than that.

I find myself wanting to kick people again, and especially certain people we all know and I would hope that we all hate, who are so cavalier about the lives of soldiers. And here's to film makers who can get us to cry over a three-second clip, out of context, in a preview, and try to keep reminding us what it's like, while we sit here in our living rooms and movie theaters.


Alexandra S said...

Beautifully expressed. And as for trailers, have you seen the one for Blades of Glory? Thats a weeper too. (Can we go see that this weekend, btw??? Job is in it! Did you know that? I will treat you to a liquidless soda so you won't have to get up and miss anything.)

Disco Mermaids said...

Yes, The Lives of Others was amazing. And chilling. Definitely a conversation starter.

- Jay

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Wow sweetie, I got chills just reading your vague descriptions of the horror and valor of war -- sheesh. And may the cavalier folk you refer to get their due some day, in some just manner.

Loves ya,

Terri /Tinker said...

I Hate when I have to make that choice between nature and a movie! Unfortunately 2 hours is my max, even without the small soda.
As for war movies - I applaud their intent to show the best of humanity vs. the worst - but I find esp. as I get older, I can't handle it emotionally. It tears me up into shreds - so I've given them up for now.
As for those who perpetuate such scenarios - let's hope for karma!

stephanie t. said...

Dear Laini,
My dearest just presented me with two lovely 'ladies' for our anniversary! One for the yard and one for my art room...LOVE THEM!! I could tell, by the messages they send, that he took his time and chose carefully...and by the twinkkle in his eyes, I could see that he was pretty darn proud of himself!
Thank you for putting a bit o' sparkle in our day!

Amber said...

You're right about the war movies. I planned on writing my own story, from a woman's perspective in Baghdad, but every time I've sat down I've found I just can't do it. I can't watch movies like that without getting up in arms ABOUT arms.

I even burned my journal when I got back to the States. (I'm too dramatic sometimes.)

Frida said...

You know I've been writing for months about the need to stay soft and open in the midst of the horror of the conflict and it's effects here. That softness means I'm hopeless when it comes to war movies as well. I never watched Gallipoli although due to strong NZ connections I've been there and visited the cemetaries with a lovely old Turkish man who claimed to have been a boy at the time. It was unbearably sad.

PS: I'm thinking of trying the plans by five this weekend... thanks for the inspiration