Monday, 8 February 2010

The Three burials of Melquiades Estrada and dreams

The day, May 16th, 2008, commenced with a prolonged vivid waking dream whose features I continued to remember throughout the day. The theme was familiar but there were two new aspects. The new feature was the location. A new luxury civic recreational centre but in a complex underground location of many levels. I was one of several visitors viewing the new development although I became separated from the others and although the facilities were staffed and the restaurants were full of food, there were no paying customers. As is the norm in such dreams when I managed to find my way out of the it was to somewhere strange some distance from where I had been and wanted to return. Often there is no transport immediately available, or it is going in the wrong direction but in this instance there was a bus which arrived but I could not find my bus pass, fumbling the card holder to the extent that the bus was driven off without me as I woke fully and needed to get up. That I had been left was my fault, as always is the situation.

There is a slim connection with film of the day, the Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, the film directed as well as starring Tommy Lee Jones. The film was also about a search and struggle which turns out very differently from what had been anticipated. As with my daily writings the film asks the question, what is it about? What does its Director hope to achieve for himself as the creator and for the audience. There is little purpose to this film from the audience viewpoint unless you are an Hispanic American, or want to be an Hispanic American, or you are a southern cowboy, rancher or redneck who now feels alien in his own land because of the pace and nature of change. Otherwise the film is exceptionally slow paced, the action is conventional, law enforces shoot when they hear guns being shot in their direction and shoot back or beat up suspects for the hell of it; men take their women regardless of feelings and inclinations, or the women, bored housewives have flings with whoever is available trying to recapture what they had once and is only now remembered, and everyone is pessimistic about their future. So why pay good money to watch this film? Why read what I write?

You have to pay close attention and stay with the film, trying to answer the questions posed to begin to grasp the story line. It is easy to identify with Melquiades Mexican Cowhand who likes the life as a cowboy in southern Texas and therefore takes jobs close the border always at risk of being questioned by the boarder patrolman whose function is to stop migrants and who are race apart of lawmen from the local Sheriff and his men who are only interested in other local crime which needs their attention otherwise they are content to get on with the basics of life like everyone else. Melquiades has the good fortune to be offered a job by Tommy Lee as the Rancher who speaks fluent Spanish and looks more Mexican than Texan and is known around town just as Pete. Pete likes Melquiades because he works hard, shares a love of horses and appears to have more of a purpose to his life than Pete, showing him the photograph of his wife and children who live in a small village and who eh has not seen for five years. He tells Pete that if he should die before getting home he wants to be taken back to be buried and makes Pete promise to do this and Pete who finds his existence pointless gives his word.

The film is divided into three parts, with the explanation coming after Melquiades is unintentionally shot and loosely buried by a border patrol man who would have enjoyed shooting Vietnamese or beating up Iraqi's or anyone else who aint like us. When the body is discovered he is quickly reburied anonymously by the local Sheriff until Pete discovers what happened and decides to abandon his comparatively good life and become a fugitive by kidnapping the patrolman and using him to take the body back across the border to the man's wife and children.

The return, the mission, form the final third of film, when man pits himself against his demons and nature and discovers truths, some fundamental, some of no importance to anyone except the individual concerned. Of course situations are never the way people describe them to others, especially those they are close to as hopes and fears, aspirations and beliefs intermingle with the actuality. At one level the film is about my mantra, what we do and say lives with us for eternity and with anyone who has been part of our experiences, just as they and their words live with us. Irrespective of how society views and treats our sins we cannot escape them unless we find a way to forgive ourselves.

Within the past couple of weeks I have heard several politicians or political commentators refers to aspects of the book by the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair as too much information, which is their way of saying I have become such a stereotyped politician or political commentator that I can't cope with anything outside my box. You know the type they don't have time to read novel's or go to the cinema unless it is what everyone else talking about around the dinner table and they will have a researcher do the culture and give them a one page note. whose other functions are buying family presents and providing briefs on the party line on all the subjects where the politician has no knowledge or interest. This usually makes the researcher more powerful than the politician so they decide to become a politician and employ researchers. Most people have crib sheets about life and other people which are have been provided by their parents, the teachers, their religions and by their initial experiences of life. To jettison all this and go into life without crib sheets is frightening because of ones vulnerability to predators, especially those attracted to the weak. However experiencing life this way enables one to connect all the dots in exciting and different ways from everyone else and the pictures created become significant the more information you acquire on a particular subject.

For most of yesterday there was no inclination to work and I wanted to be engaged by others. It ahd the promise of a good day's cricket at Lords but the weather intervened so the vast numbers who are part of the hospitality circuit were able to have their expensive food and drink and watch the Cup Final, and two of the play off games which usually are of no interest to the supporters. The Cup Final as is usual was a boring game except to Portsmouth supporters who scored the only goal and clung on. The build up about the players and managers was of greater interest that the football and the sellers of the event worldwide would have been pleased by the spectacle of both sets of fans having their coloured flags. The highlight was Kathleen Jenkins leading the Welsh nation in Land of my fathers while Lesley Garret did her best to lead a limp singing of what is now only the English National Anthem, God save the Queen. The Irish have Danny Boy although technically that of Eire is The Soldier's Song and the Scots their Flowers, although Scotland the Brave and Auld Lang Syne are also contenders. Everyone was however able to unite with Abide with Me. Some producer told Alan Hanson or one for the others to say that what a great day it was for everyone and it was honest Alan Shearer who pointed out that this only applied if you won and yes Alan I do feel the pain of the penalty you missed.

One of the themes of Dr Who is that previously unexplained mysteries during the history of our planet are the product of alien intervention. This was so in last night's episode which explained why Agatha Christie disappeared for ten days with her car abandoned by a lake before turning up at a Harrogate Hotel claiming loss of memory. The cause was a giant wasp.

I do not understand why some people actually enjoy the spectacle of others making fools of themselves performing when they cannot sing, play instruments, tell jokes or otherwise entertain so I have the silent button to hand switching to sound when it looks as if someone of talent appears. One of the finds of the series is kept until the end of the programme and after two singers one aged 1 and the other fourteen the focus this week was on a young Cornish dance troupe which even got Simon excited. So overall it was a day of dissatisfaction, primarily with myself for not feeling like working. I consoled with soup because it was also a chilly day, a prawn salad, apple strudel and ice cream, half the fish platter, water melon, several cups of coffee and tea and two lots of cereal, with a salami and cheese sandwich at before bedtime. The only bright point was to raise my percentage of games won at hearts from eighteen to nineteen and move towards 20. Meanwhile in Burma, China and Africa children die because of nature and men.

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