Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Apocalypto and Riddle

I believe I understand concept of Limbo in its spiritual and psychological meaning as a condition of being between where we have been and know, and where we are moving to and wish for and but also fear. It may be better, more as we would like, but it may also be worse and a step before the abyss. It is therefore a place of uncertainty and tension. While the length and nature of the rest of my life is unknown and therefore uncertain, and I am frequently bewildered by the choices available, and while I am sometimes afraid when I contemplate some of the options, the possibilities, and the chains of inevitable consequences which some actions and decisions, or inactions and indecisions appear to bring, I am not in an overall state of tension. I feel at peace with myself and therefore with other human beings and with nature. Later I believe a better word is harmony

It has not always been so and I do not anticipate that it will continue throughout my remaining self awareness, nor does this mean an absence of strong emotions, or always being in an intensity of being and heightened alertness. I am frequently tired and I sometimes fight to experience more or to work on, but usually I know when to yield and when to not.

I would love to continue to sit and explore my present thoughts and feelings. I would like to finish off what I have been writing about beforehand and completing the background work required to reach the point when I feel able to move onto something new or something outstanding. I would like to walk in what appears to be a good morning. But having slept from 1 am, perhaps a little later, through until just before 10 am with two gettings up, both with dreams I continue to remember, and think I understand and returning immediately to a pleasantly remembered slumber, it is time to prepare a sandwich lunch, to but the Mail on Sunday if they are still available because of the unusual free distribution of an undistributed new film, and time to attend to my mother and her situation.

It is 5.49 pm and I returned home before 5 pm to get a wash underway, some sorting and some writing only to then remember that the Q E 2 was arriving at North Tyneside Dock around 5 and traffic was everywhere trying to park including the back lanes. Fortunate I found a space near to where I live. However despite the huge crows all that has happened so far is that the ship has circled along the coast. Perhaps the wind is too strong, perhaps it is now waiting for the evening sailing of the DFS North Sea Ferry sherry service to depart. The tugs are still there all four, plus the ferry boats packed with sightseers and a flotilla of smaller craft.

It has been that kind of day as I went in search of a Daily Mail fro a copy of a unreleased film Riddle with Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave and Vinnie Jones. There was none at Asda so I moved on to High Street and W H Smiths, was closed and Woolworths had a copy so on impulse I went to see if they had a recently issued double DC of the 30 best of Marc Bolam T Rex and while I was there I could not resist Amy Whitehouse Back to Back my first purchases of a CD's this year. Amy Winehouse has a jazzy voice full of feeling which is unique, perhaps because she is destroying herself, as several others have before, from excessive alcohol, drugs and self abuse, Janis Joplin the first to mind in what could be a litany. Recently her father in law pleaded that the public boycott as means of bringing her and their son to his senses before it was too late. I understand their position but she is paying the price of her gift her way. We cannot and should not attempt control the lives of our children but provide unconditional love, understanding and support. But in some situations this is difficult to impossible, especially in the glare of the mass media.

I had only been at the hospital for an hour when I realised that the Sunday Times was issuing free DVD's of Michael Palin's travel so I went in search and invested £2 only to find it was a single episode and not the one I had hoped for. Now I have a week's reading of newspapers.

England are Playing South Africa in the 20/20 and had a good start taking wickets and controlling the run flow and then everything goes wrong dropped catches, sixes and the game slips.

My interest over the past three days has been Apocalypto, Mel Gibson's second directorial journey using historical language, in this instance Mayan, to present his unique perception of universal truths was not a film I rushed to experience either in Theatre or on DVD. I found The Passion unbearable to watch such was the intensity and reality of the suffering, although acceptable because of its purpose symbolism and purpose. Apocalypto is essentially entertainment, a classic chase film, with an ending which reminds of the Bergman's film, The Seventh Seal, when at the end of a medieval plague, one simple, environmental nuclear family, survive in their form of garden of Eden.
In Apocalypto there never was a Garden of Eden. The hero is an experienced "savage" hunter who has to hunt and kill animals to survive and he needs all the street fighting skills imparted by his father and other tribe members to outwit the sophisticated Mayan city folk who engage in daily enslavement, rape and pillage, to keep the population happy with ritual public slaughter and live private video hunt games where the quarry are the surplus sacrifices.

However his loyalty after his father and brother warriors is to his wife and son who he hides in a precarious environment dependent on returning. This he accomplishes through a mixture of self belief and spiritual prophecy and the natural cleverness and luck of all the James Bond films rolled into one, and we all learn that his wife is more than worthy for his selfless commitment overcoming two body piercing which would have been lethal to anyone else, jumping off Niagara Falls, getting out of a quick sands swamp and out running and outwitting a cougar.

She survives imprisoned in the abyss, attends to her son when injured, gives birth, overcomes floods and retains an impressive tranquillity and faith in their redemption by her husband. However at they set off to a new beginning at the end of the film we know they are now in even greater period because the Christian banner waving Conquistadors have arrived. This enemy will bring disease and destruction, human exploitation and savage torture to equal and exceed anything the Mayans could produce.

James Barardinelli is my favourite film reviewer, an online film critic whose has never failed in his assessments and he sees the film as a partner to Braveheart than The Passion and the chase has having origins in Mad Max. I suspect Mel Gibson had deeper motives although I do not go along with my other dependable reviewers from Spirituality and Practice who always try and see great meaning and who in this instance begin with the question of questions: Are we living the end of times? Well only perhaps if we have to be obliterated to make way for a space super highway (Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy)but otherwise human being must be regarded as minor specie in the universe incapable of learning how to live without killing and exploiting each other.

The title, Apocalypto is designed to indicate a story about a civilization in decline, the Mayan, at the hand of the Conquistadors. A subtext is about overcoming fear although the message that if you take on bullies you will win in the end is a false one and misunderstands the Christian and Muslim messages, and maybe Judaism and other religions, which is about how you live, how you deal with fear, how you die, and other issues of conscience and morality irrespective of the consequences or the implications for others. The writers of the review claim that Mel Gibson is on a mission to "help us own up to human savagery and to realise how desperately we need peace and love to counter balance it."
Reference Frederic and Mary Brussat Fro O.F.C.S site
In order to test out this statement as actually representing Gibson's intention it is necessary for me to view the Director's commentary again to night although priority will be Sunderland's win at home on the day the club said goodbye to Ian Porterfield, who died from cancer and whose is remembered for scoring the goal that brought Sunderland glory when the beat Leeds to win the FA Cup in 1973, a game I saw on TV never realising that I would buy a house within walking distance of the club and become a season ticket holder 1974-1990, 2007-?

The reason why I have not immediately watched the commentary is that Durham were on the TV during the day and I returned home to see the end of the game and find out if they beat Glamorgan and achieve promotion to the division 1 of the pro 40 over championship with an out side chance of going up as champions and the second piece of silverware in one year after over a decade of nothing. And WOW they have done both. Compensation for not getting to Sunderland and this would have involved being away for four hours. I will watch an edited version of the game at 10.15.

My evening meal tonight reflected a positive mood. A glass of red wine, a 2005 Rioja Bodegas Primicia from North East Spain, smoked salmon on crackers with fresh lemon juice, stuffed shoulder of mutton with petite corn of cobs and garden peas, followed by fresh pineapple. There was time for part of the X factor preliminaries before the evening visit where my mother was having a peaceful evening and the only event was coping with a daddy long legs which freaked one of the staff who came to prepare my mother for the early part of the night.

This morning I had a dream which echoed several images from Apocalypto. And then became busy, ironing, washing up, vacuuming the entrance passage, stairs to half landing and the toilet, preparing a salmon salad for lunch, defrosting food for evening meal, preparing the pineapple and then deciding on a two egg ham omelette for breakfast.

I watched a little of Independence Day before the Sunderland Reading game on Sky. We now have a strong and fast centre forward who can shoot, a rare combination, but he should have scored two more than the opening goal. There were several other incidents which could have changed the match for both sides, although the excerpts of the interview given by the manager of Reading was a model for not hiding behind questionable refereeing decisions or the poor run of the green, but concentrated on the overall performance of the team over the first part of the new season. Then the final moments of Independence Day and the Mel Gibson commentary. What a disappointment.

Perhaps I was wrong to expect some insight into what he hoped for his film other that clever well acted and produced entertainment. Certainly he gives unlimited to praise to the indigenous actors and extras, some given speaking parts, to the make up team and camera crew. There are lots of in jokes which they share but overall this is Gibson and his co producer an enjoyable buddies look back at what they did and how they did it, but not why. It was the most weird film commentaries I have experienced.

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