Saturday, October 16, 2010

comments on a movie

(read only if you have seen the movie - a lot of spoilers...)

Just a movie to see - no expectations or such. At first nothing special, actually a bit messy with the unnatural intertwining of H to the terrorism-case by a file - clumsy, but suppose one has to try a bit too much... but then it got going with the special command center and the captured bombman.

- My name is Steven Arthur Younger, and I am an American citizen.

- My name is Yusuf Atta Muhammed.

Now before we get tangled in all this present moment jargon like islam and nuclear material and fbi and such I must make a point of something that got me intrigued and hooked: in this movie there are just two people who smile and smile so that their teeth show. There are only two people who have families - the same that smile. Of course I knew this just after watching this movie, but it did strike me so that I saw the movie again next day and then again, some five or six times all. And it became just more important, the smiles.

All the other people are just agents and administrators and soldiers, kind of professional bureaucratic lot with no life of any kind, no emotions or such... just as H says to agent Helen Brody (Carrie-Ann Moss): ' Harward law... antiterrorism, good choice.. no husband.. no children... they'll say you are lesbian.'  She is a carrier woman with precise words and set features. And she has a conscience.  Very serious, academic, 'no contact' person, who at the end has to decide how far it is possible to carry on the interrogation of one man when in scales with 10 million people and a  nuclear bomb.

- Let it happen without your consent. Then you are safe.

- If you want to leave, go.

- You could make a deal, Yusuf. They have nothing.

- Tell the names of your partners and where the bombs are, so we get you on a flight to Pakistan.

- Give us the bombs so you'll be free.

- He does not want to be free. - Everyone wants to be free.

- Americans have falsely assumed so everywhere.

- Don't you understand that, Brody? He got himself here.

- He knew what we'd do to him.

- You have proved, that we are just such people we deny to be.

The central figure is H - the man who has to do the job. He is married with two children. Married to a bosnian woman, who was raped and her family killed and who did revenge by murdering her tormentors and their families. But under the circumstances the family is happy. H has been to army, a special unit and is now protected by government, the special interrogator. Nice father, gentle husband... played by Jackson. He is the torturer, but, as he says, he is just doing what anyone would do to find out the locations of three nuclear bombs Yusuf has hidden. And agent Helen is his measure: as long as Helen allows him to torture he goes on... until finally she denies him and he lets Yusuf go.  Yes, she is horrified all the time but sees the necessity to break one man to save millions until Yusuf's children are threatened. H needs her moral support: if you can do  it anyone could! H knows his position: he is a prisoner of a kind and has to do what is demanded. He gets to know the man Yusuf while cutting his fingers and giving him electric shocks. They get to know each other, Yusuf and H. Yes, and agent Helen, who is 'the good cop'. H and Yusuf, Yusuf and H - H knows that Yusuf controls the situation: he has planned everything, each step, each piece of knowledge, each move, and Yusuf keeps the control to the bitter end. The price is high, though: H cuts the throat of Yusuf's wife and she bleeds to death in his feet. Finally he surrenders the three bombs when H threatens to kill his children. Everyone is happy: they succeeded! accept H. He knows Yusuf all too well by now and understands that there is a fourth bomb too. Helen denies the further use of children and H frees Yusuf who grabs a gun and kills himself sealing his 'victory'.

- There are no innocent children! At least not his children.

- No! Stop him, please!

To do the job, to do unthinkable things... to torture and break another man... Torture is forbidden by Geneva convention and other international agreements, but words are just words and can be circumnavigated by other words. Mental cruelty such as throat cutting in front of someone in order to shake him is also forbidden - but if the circumstances are so special, so severe... can it be allowed? As the last chance?  It is done says this film, and accepted, covered and buried.

- That man killed 53 people.

- Some of them women and children, and yet I am the villain?

- You won. They are on your side.

- 'Oh God! Get the children back here. Shoot those resisting. This is an order!

To do the job, to do the unthinkable!  When H starts the interrogation, his protector says: 'Now it starts, no-one knows what shall happen, not even he himself! And yes, it is a conversation between the torturer and the tortured, a road to the soul of the other by revealing his own, slow process that breaks a man or doesn't, as it happens in this case. Yusuf even enjoys their intimacy: he winks an eye and smiles broadly when H returns to torment him. Their dance macabre proceeds with him in lead...

- 'Congratulations, major.'

The cinematography is placid. Pictures are steady and cool, the rhythm almost serene: no hasty cuts, quick elopements. Main colours are different greys  both in surroundings and clothes, and the places are scruffy, industrial spaces. Clothes are dark suits or military desert pattern - only H wears a faded blue workman's coat. So the visual look is nondescript and gives space to the people. H is big and black and has an expressive bald head with an expressive face - Samuel L Jackson is doing a good job! Yusuf is a bit like  mad einstein in his turmoil but the character holds together and is believable, even sympathetic. However, he is a bit soft physically for a delta force soldier and his teeth - after a few days in torture - are so white! Little things matter a lot... Tied to a chair or a bunk Martin Sheen has somewhat restricted possibilities but uses them well to express the emotions of this doomed man, doomed by himself.

We are very civilised people, or as Brody puts it, normal, and in comparison H is not normal, but violent and bad. But quite normal people are capable to horrible deeds, as referred by Rina, H's wife, to Bosnia, - or equally the nazis or Ruandas  citizens:  A crowd can behave like no limits in cruelty ever existed. Physical torture is an ancient method of extracting information, still used and perhaps not because of it's ineffectiveness. Yet it poses a problem to us, human and civilised  as we are, in these situation when time is the deciding factor...

- 'He might not brake.' - 'There are only three hours left.'

'If you ask me to stop, I will.*  H wants her to support or to stop him, to share the responsibility...

She does not answer thus giving her consent.

Nice, clean and analytical one might say about this movie, and emotionally involving - if not emotional... well worth watching!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A woman loves to nurture...

It is ever so surprising that this once again - hundreds of times this has happened! - surfaces: The woman is more emphatic, she loves to nurture, she is emotional... she is different from a man, who is mathematical, strong and rational!!! In my 56 years I have come accross this phenomenal hoax all the time. It is depressing and plain stupid!!! An instrument of subjection!!!

So as a woman you should be the second in command, at most... Your capability to independent thinking and action is ... well, if not nonexistent at least limited. How come? But these opinions need no reasons or justification: they are the objective thruth!!! At best you are serving and nurturing others... and that makes you partial in deciding...

It is so refreshing and profitable, this kind of oppression. As a woman you are suitable for supporting and decorative jobs, not independent or leading... but I'm not supporting or decorative, I am independent and  quite able to make decicions... even if I lika more democracy that tyranny - I have tried that too and  even if it was working it was not lasting....

All  my life I have been listening... listening other people, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking. Mostly I have been alone, alone with my boys, my children - no man ever came near the measure... And we had it well, working system in this house for the good of all, and boys grew, became men and went their own ways. So I am alone with my thoughts and ideas. It is funny how little we change by the years: I am the same as I was years and years ago: not so certain about anything, exploring and experimenting, not so very civilized but frank, and ever loving beauty...

My paintings are awesome to some people but because I'm not a member of unions or properly schooled I am not a real professional artist. I'm glad someone has finally defined art and artist... As a moviemaker the problem is the same: Those who were social and made their compromise are the ones with economical means to do something but likes of me... fuck off!!! Students the age of 16 get laptops if they choose a certain school - when I was in the same situation you paid for your studies and got nothing material. Even now I think that the most important things in my life have not been material - materia and wealth are just excess and the core of life is something else.

Back to the children: because I have children I must be a nurturing woman! So it has been said. BUT... I have children because getting children - being pregnant and giving birth - is the greatest sexual and erotic experience. Yes, I have heard the thousand stories of births gone bonkers and the pain and suffering, but to my opinion it was hard work rather than pain, didn't last long and the euphoric symbiose for two-three weeks after the birth with the baby was like a prolonged orgasm, exquisitive and joyable. And all from a very selfish point of view...  as also the baby suckling, a very sexual experience...  Poor men, never such... must be frustrating and so it is natural to underrate the experience!!! Or maybe it is jelousy?

And nurturing later... I gladly admit that my boys have been my companions rather than something to nurture. I have helped and explaned when needed but they have not been subject to any special dicipline and everyone has had to work, do his share of the common shit like washing the dishes or vacuuming. And no harm done there as far as I can see... We had fun with the boat and the dogs and the cars that always broke! Yes, we had fun and though we were not rich or even well-to-do we were content: not fat or starving but ok! And even the house I got to some sort of condition!

So never am I going to nurture, but my fair share of play... where is it???

Friday, August 13, 2010

the first day

This is the first day of the rest of my life, and this is 13th and friday, but a beautiful and warm summerday in spite of that. The first day... beginning of something, maybe not so different and spectacular but hopeful and peaceful. Why do they - all other people - want to force me to stay put? Why? Do they not understand that to me the fourtieth wedding anniversary means absolutely nothing, or maybe a chain? Do they not understand that a continuing work in or with some same persons and surroundings is a deathblow? Why do they not understand? Why do they not accept me as I am - a wanderer? It is not considered normal here, not worth doing, just flying from a flower to another.
But that is how I'm made! That is how I'm on my best and how I thrive! A dog can not become a cat or a dragonfly. A dog is a dog and a dragonfly is a dragonfly.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

the storm asta

The night between thursday and friday last week... I woke at about two oclock to the sound of rain, heavy constant patter of drops, and flashing of lightnings and black roaring darkness. I lied quite still and dreamed of a thunderous fuck, warm weight on my body and the mixing of different sensory perceptions, the movement, the water pouring and the thunder... ecstatic!

The wind rattled steelsheets on the roof of old cowhouse and beat branches of trees on the roof, and howled in the corners of outhouses and open windows. I had to get up to close the windows. The rooms on the southside had water flooding on the floor. Pluck sockets flashed sparkles causing the cat  to panick and run round the house. The dog couched under the sofa. And the boy slept on the sofa. Finally I stood with the cat on the treshold in the middle of the house and followed the divine spectacle for half an hour. Then I gave up and scrambled back to bed to listen to the patter of rain already more serene...

It is now the fifth day without electricity. One can survive without fridge! and without water from the tap - luckily we have a well on the yard and a composting toilet! Without electric cooker - keep the campfires burning!!! And without television, computer, cellphone! The roads are however already open! On friday I did sweat with the dog on a fitness track made by some fifty fallen heavy and bushy spruce.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

solidarity - chinagirl

Saltzburg was busted! I don't remember what festival or happening it was in April -74 but every hostel and hotel was booked full and so I seemed to be facing a night on the street. Not that it was so very cold any more, but not necessarily very tempting either. And I was hungry after walking through the city in my vain search, that had brought me to the square of the old town.
Many restaurants, taverns and bierstube on the square. I chose neither the most expensive nor the cheapest but a cosy tavern with a lot of young people inside. Food and good company were the rescue of my falling spirits!

The table had five ruff canadians eating their meal with a beer, and soon we had a conversation going. They were travelling with backpack as I was too and we talked of the places we had been to and places still to go. And ate and drank beer. In the next table was an asian girl at first with some other people but then alone. She had not been a part of that group and joined now our conversation. She was on her way to London, but had wanted to take a look to the central european life, too. So after landing to Frankfurt some days earlier she had continued to Heidelberg, Munchen and now Saltzburg, then to Wien and flight to Rome, Paris and finally London. She was lively and funny and good company. And she was chinese - Taiwan, I supposed, or Hong Kong.

The canadians were booked in a hostel outside the town and left well before midnight to be there in time. I stayed with the chinese girl until she said she too was ready to go to sleep. So I smiled to her and said ok, u go. She seemed puzzled and I explained that I had no accommodation for the night and intended to stay in the tavern as long as possible. In the morning i'd take a train or a bus to Paris and sleep through the journey. She looked at me with wide eyes and smiled and said, that she had a room in the hotel Xxx  and it was big enough to sleep two. I did smile and wonder how was I to sneak in, and she said that we'd figure out something. And off we go. Her room is in an old and grand hotel by the square, and I'm quite intimitated... but she goes in and talks in the reception so I can slip to the stairs, and then we continue to her room. A large room with a wonderful window and a  bathroom with a window, too. And so I had a warm bath and a drink and a nice chat with a friendly person curious about my wiews. Her room was  cozy and had a splendid wiew over the old town. By the window was a divan and a desk, and there was a comfortable bed on the other side of the room. I slept on the divan and I slept really soundly. She slept in the bed.

I woke rather early in the morning and she woke when I packed my backpack. We laughed together and she gave me a wide smile with her best wishes. And I sneaked out of the room, tiptoed down the stairs and said a friendly hello to the cleaninglady!!!  And I was on the street fresh and ready for the day...

We never knew each others names but that is something I might call... solidarity?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What has it got to do with religion???

I have been writing this story set in northern Pakistan. Or associating this story... It has been an interesting process for a few months and surprisingly easy in some ways, difficult in others though. The skeleton is ready now. It has not so many pages of text, just some 22  or so plus some pages of characterprofiles, because I think that if you know the background of a person you can predict or imagine or deduct how this person will act. I don't say 'behave', because I don't like the word behave. I do not understand it's meaning. 'Behave' has been so badly missused in my lifetime that it means just a kind of forced random pattern. Action, function, yes, but what about acting?A doctor is acting according the situation when coming to the scene of an accident. And an actor may be acting a doctor... or whatever. The words are so susceptible, or can one say so? Maybe not... But about the manuscript: After I wrote the skeleton of 'Requiem' I thought that there would be no such misstreatment - on state level anyway - as apartheid was in South-Africa. Not so legal and organized, and accepted as apartheid. Of course people have not full human rights neither here nor anywhere else, and all kind of shit happens inside the system, but not officially on statelevel. Yes, there are China and Libya and some others and their practices, but officially they are aknowledging the basic human rights.
The time of Taleban rule in Afghanistan was something else: women in this country had no human rights. Women. Babygirls are killed in China, and maybe in India a practice concerning young widows is still alive, but the sharia-rule - It has been hard, very hard, sad and depressing to dive in this sea of suffering. Depressing because nothing seems to change. Same violence, random and stupid, fascistic ... It seems almost unbelievable how dazzling the power over others can be! How can it be? How rigid and blind can human mind be not to see...
And it has nothing to do with the religion, or as much as national socialism had with christianity, or communism.
Pakistan is a country with a violent political history - as by the way most countries have. Zulfigar Ali Bhutto was hanged and a military rule followed, and finally a new attempt to democracy: Benazir Bhutto was elected and soon after assassinated, so... Now in the mountain region in north near Afghan border the Taleban movement is rising its head also in Pakistan. The region is poor, isolated and it's inhabitants not educated. And instead of schools they choose oppression and violence. Why? Well, USA chose Guantanamo...

This 'Fifth Night Moon' is a row of free associations. The characters have their origins in my knowledge of human beings and  their behaviour (I'm using the word!). It is skeletal and formal because that is how it happens - cause and consequence. Those that lived throught the war and sharia are listening rather than acting, but the independent and 'no-one will tell me what to do' - european woman Lore takes the gun. And she is an atheist.
I think that rigid hierarchy and violence are typical to individuals, who have had no need to adapt and develope different strategies for survival. Or maybe they have had no chance because of violence aimed at them. During my 56 years I have met and known people from various different countries, black and white, yellow and grey, men and women, young and old, and I think that most of them would accept violence as the last chance to survive... you know: even a rat attacks if cornered. But Lore is not threatened that way, so why? And Wasim is not a rat either, so why? Both Lore and Wasim are primarily enraged because of what happens to other people. Lore sees the suffering of Saima and Wasim saw the way Pakistanis were treated in Britain. Both react to individual cases, and while Wasim's way is to organize and arrange, Lore takes the ancient path of revenge.
Thrue hope, future and possibilities are with Saima and Kalim, who in spite of dissappointing reality can still play and laugh. And even Shahzana and Wawa, a lot endured and tired, still have strength to listen and exchange conversation. Lore returns to her old world unable to give up he ways and unable to change.

I do not  know if there is anything substantial in this skeleton, but I'm ready to go on with it and help it to develope to a full scale movie. Yes.

memory and light

Light, light and colour. Night, stars in the darkness.
Long, long years ago - a lifetime actually - I had
the experience of understanding another intelligence,
sharing a moment of absolute and clear thinking,
an idea.
Long, long time ago, walking beneath the pines:
'As long as you remember I am alive.'
'As long as I remember you are alive.'
Light and colour, and darkness. And the brighter
the light, the darker the shadows get. The shadows.
In the mind. But the colours were for life.
Sensual intelligence. Light and shadow for intelligence.
Colours for sensual being. The crumbling fringes of
shadows, when light is eating them away...
or vice versa.'
Sensual - all that need to believe in feelings and
impulses ones senses produce, and no way of even
knowing weather it is just an illusion or something
called 'real'. No way of ever knowing. But still necessary,
The remembrance can't be denied, or forgotten.
It exists, the moment and it's vision, endlessly
stretching from the actual moment in time to eternity:
As long as you remember, I am.
And what is there to remember? Sincerity, the aim
for momentary clarity, infinite tolerance, especially
in thinking, ability to give up everything and share.

Colours.Those of land in spring and autumn,
ochres, greens and umbras of the nature, and
those surrounding the mind: bright and clean reds,
blues and yellows. White and black are not colours
but rather amounts of light, and what is light?
Nobody knows, again. Anyway light is something
we can sense, partly at least, an essential part of
sensual intelligence, of human life.
Light is one of the basic ingredients of physical
reality. When we talk of existence, of relativity, of
universe and it's formation, the theory of universal
structure, we talk about light - whatever it is.
Light in it's many forms: The warm sunlight - basic
creator of life on earth, or the artificial light and it's
various ways to enhance human life from laserbeams
to infrared and all their everyday adaptations.
Fascinating both scientifically and imaginatively
is the light of the stars, the same sight seen by
ancient egyptians and those long before them.
They did not know, what they saw. I do know of ligt
and the speed it travels, of dark material and the
expanding universe. Still we share the vision:
nightsky is the same to the human eye...