Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Movies and other historic portraits

Must confess I've lately fallen well under the influence of Sofia Coppola.. I mean, not influence as such, but I am in such Sofia Coppola vibe today... I first started to notice her work and then realized if I was into movies, I'd probably direct the exact same way as she does and lastly, I watched Marie Antoinette twelve or so times today and began to forgive the little idiot. The sad, too adult and unfortunate life of the heroine in Lost in Translation is in this movie the exact reverse - Marie's existence is kitschy, hectic, short and childish. I used to think 'down with the aristocracy!' pretty clearly and now I'm just weary of historic reports. Gods know I have seen more of the history's backstage than a regular Herodotus. Those imposing, majestic portraits of kings and generals in 8o-pound gilded frames in museums which are the size of pocket states, those continue to deliver the stories of these memorable men in such ridiculously romanticized way, we think they must have been righteous people, to be so pompous.

Didn't care much for Virgin Suicides, that story was just sick. I do have Lost in Translation on speed dial, mostly because I can't get enough of footage of Tokyo and if it's shot through the eyes of a visitor, foreigner and a talented one at that, then the cultural differences are bridged.. Similar thing happens in The Brave One, where Neil Jordan delivers a portrait of New York as only a foreigner in awe could.

Taking the huge leap from the depressed, lonely, minimalistic shooting of Lost in Translation, the girl takes us to the worst of Versailles..
               Personally I've experinced those circles twice - first while still in high-school, smitten by the plots and power of the court of the self-anointed king of Sun, Louis XIV, knowing the names and short histories of all his courtiers, ministers, mistresses and favorite servant, as well as the stories of some of the buildings and women involved in those.. Second time it was less in awe and more as a villain.. And it is too easy to look down on the rich and to think they had them coming with that business with the guillotine.
                But honestly.. It was bad enough that vast majority was viciously inbred and sick one way or another, but they were brought up so blind and ruthless.. Almost everyone's upbringing is inevitable, there's just no way of getting out of it unless you know better and most people never learn. My country has almost no colored folk and everyone looks at non-countrymen as if they were freaks. We don't mean anything truly wrong by it, we just do it. I was scared shitless of Arabs when I first got to Africa. They all looked to me like the creeps from To Ten Most Wanted posters. But still - to see an Asian in our street is an anomaly. They seem to belong only to the restaurants, other than that people stare. A child of different appearance is still molested in school, no matter how confused by it..

Then again, I was always the social outcast myself, and I didn't look particularly unusual. True, my mother cut my hair and for all her well meant effort, it did ruin almost all my childhood photos, but no matter what, even in kindergarten, I was off. People can sniff I'm off within hours of knowing me and that's when I am putting all thrusters into 'normality mode'. I've grown to be pretty happy about it, but I probably annoy a whole lot of people without even realizing it. So many must have been hurt so much while the hurting party never even knew it. 

There are still some issues between me and death. I KNOW there has to be illness and accidents and I know EVERYBODY dies, but to read about those poor people, torn apart by the mob, literally ripped to pieces and the estate thrashed to bits.. I can believe someone would have suffered for so long they had nothing left but wrath to demolish icons responsible, but still.. That was one hell of a swipe the French revolutionaries swung. Hope later rulers of this kinky little planet learned never to allow it to get this far again. Kim Jong-il may want to read a book.