Saturday, February 02, 2008

"For You, A Thousand Times Over..."

Friday was a short day.

Perfect excuse to escape and head for the movies.

Back-to-back movies seem to be a tricky issue - you gotta make sure the running time of the first one won't overlap into the second one,; you gotta make sure you dun pig out on the popcorn and drinks in case you feel the need to run to the loo in the midst of the second one; you gotta make your loo trip a short one between the two shows; you gotta keep awake for 4 hours; you gotta make sure there's enough time for you to catch the last bus/train home...

And its funny, ironic, sometimes even scary, to pick two back-to-back shows with a common underlying theme without prior knowledge - both are novel adaptations, and more importantly, both deal with atonement.

Atonement, in retrospect, is good.

Though the initial reaction was - "What?! That's it?! Writing a good ending absolves her deed?!"

This is perhaps what a commercial adaptation, no matter how good, fails to resolve what the novel narrates. Haven't read the novel, but I'm pretty sure it sums up Briony's internal torment regarding her mistake.

Nonetheless, there are finer aspects of the film, a lesson in cinematography, in story-telling, in the use of flashbacks, in detailing the horrors of war, in artistic direction (speaking of which, why is it rated M18 for sexual content? The clean version of Lust, Caution showed more skin than this!).

Several poignant moments in the film: when Robbie and co. walked out of the forest into a clearing, and discovering the scene of a mass killing - bodies (and bodies) of 10-year-olds in (presumably) school uniform lying lifelessly on the ground; when Cecilia and Robbie parted ways for the very last time; the last scene when Robbie was coaxed into sleep by his mate, not knowing that would be his last moments; the scene when Briony was comforting a French soldier's last moments in the hospital; the very scene at the end which shows what it would be like if the lovers had not been separated by the actions of Briony.

The wrong acts always have devastating consequences - Briony deprived two lovers of their happiness, the war robbed the world of so much more...

The Kite Runner should be familiar to those who read frequently.

Not that tragic as Atonement, and the happy ending is more real than imaginary.

But the process is no less arduous.

Whereas Briony was over-enthusiastic, Amir cowered in denial and over-indulged in humiliation. While Briony had only story-writing as a means for atonement, weaving ficiton is what Amir needed to get away from, to face reality in its face, to accept what he had been denying all along.

Localised/internalised conflicts are just as damaging. If what the film had depicted is a close resemblance to 1970s Afghanistan, then its really tragic what had transpired over the past 30 years. Fitting that Amir realised what he had to do, the only thing that remained for him to do, before it became too late. Not that he hadn't gone through any trials and tribulations - just that what a-third of the film spent in narrating those difficult times of Amir's paled in comparison to what Rahim-jan summarised of what had happened to Hassan and his family.

"There's a way to be good again..."

Perhaps, milestones are not measured just by achievements in life; often, they are marked by the apprehension of having done something wrong, and deciding to act and attempt to right the wrong.........


It's finally time - to clear all the "dead weight."

Started today, and it'll probably take some time before I ever get done with it.

And, I guess that's about it...

Signing off................ The Past catches up with me...............

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