August 2004 Archives

21 Grams

Here's a beautiful film, visually lush, sparse and gritty in parts. It probes death and forgiveness, revenge and remorse. "21 Grams" would be great for inclusion in church retreats. Make sure you have very good sound equipment so you can enjoy the score that lends emotional power.

Also, it is superb film making. Alejandro Gonz�lez I��rritu does what Tarantino and others attempt to do with non-linear storytelling, to manipulate time and sequence in order to reveal and make present the realities of life. I��rritu is a musician and has been a radio announcer and dj, so it is not surprising that he blends images, scenes and sounds with scant regard to linear sequence but with a sumptuous cohesiveness. "21 Grams" follows on a long line of film expression that breaks from linear time, as James Joyce did with "Ulysess" and which began, in filmmaking, with the 1903 film, "The Great Train Robbery" in which simultaneous actions were presented. The work of David Lynch, particularly "Mulholland Drive," advances this structure. In "Pulp Fiction" Tarantino simply reproduces what was already done in 1903. But "21 Grams" really puts it all together in a remarkeable way. I��rritu says that he wants the audience to become engaged with the film and construct it in their minds. "Not to just sit back eating popcorn (comiendo palomitas)."


Francesca Talenti and Emily Dickinson

Francesca Talenti made a one-minute video in 2000 that has a poem by
Emily Dickinson, "I Reason," as the audio. It is a haunting combination of intellectual clarity and transcendental searching.

It provokes mediating about 9/11 with implied questions, deep questions.

You can see this poem and others at the website (also on air) of KLRU Community TV station in Austin, Texas.

Democracy Now

am back, but will probably be absent more than present here for the rest of the year.
Just to say that I was inspired yesterday, listening to "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman. But more on that some other time.
Today on our community radio station, KPFT, I was again treated to beaming optimism during a discussion of Senator Margaret Chase Smith's "Declaration of Conscience." Her 15-minute speech
should help a lot of young people today interpret the scowls of "anti-patriotism" that come from Ashcroft and other government officials with narrow views of freedom.



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