Friday, October 22, 2004

"Have you ever transcended time and space?"

Fabulous film on navigating the meaning of life in a postmodern, poststructuralist society!


This now beats Garden State as the latest worthwhile and very relevant film. The central premise is an examination of the age-old debate: is everything in life meaningless, or is it all part of some cosmic connection?

For one, the characters were hilarious. The enviro organizers and the anti-petroleum, anti-corporate crusader (my life, anyone?) The scene at the family dinner summed it up nicely, especially since the family is religious. The suburban, sprawling existence creates the need for saving nature's open spaces --unfortunately also perpetuating a car-centric infrastructure that necessitates detrimental foreign policies in oil-laden countries, creating regional strife and, in the movie's case, refugees for random (or meaningful) coincidences.

(And just what does happen in a meadow at sunset -- everything or nothing?)

The ending question, "How am I not myself?" -- love the double meaning! (What masks do we don to define ourselves for social purposes? Or do even the masks we don define us and become part of our identity?)

The resolution, of course, was in the same vein as Forrest's feather. ("I don’t know if we each have a destiny or if we’re all floating about accidental like on a breeze. But I think, maybe it’s both. Both happening at the same time.")

One thing "Huckabees" didn't do, though, was address the differences between micro and macro interaction -- the film just treated all events equally, as if international policy and environmental standards are on a par with smaller market-driven consumer options. Somehow, I think refugees fleeing the janjaweed carry a different burden than the one I had when buying birthday cards at Hallmark. But still, it's a great thought-provoking movie.

On a tangent (or not, depending on your philosophy!) today's UNA luncheon, I was a little taken aback by the well-dressed protestors handing out leaflets. Yeah, let's just all retreat into isolationism when it comes to diplomacy and cooperation in solving world issues, but maintain a freakin' cowboy manifest-destiny attitude when it comes to creating those world problems.

Think I might go see "Huckabees" again, if and when I get some free time after the election. There's so much to mine...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Three years ago, I never thought I'd say this, but ...

... The Economist is the best news magazine ever!

I might disagree with a few of their assessments of American domestic policy and international development, but where else can you get in-depth news from around the world?

Saturday, October 16, 2004


This movie is hilarious! Mainly because I grew up smack in the middle of all that.
Great parody of contemporary Christian culture! Also does a good job of emphasizing that Christians don't have to be that way (at the end of the film, nobody's become an atheist, they've just re-examined the way they practice their faith).

A little odd, watching it with a good friend from Africa who has a completely different experience of Christianity --certainly not the American, consumerized Christianity of rock concerts and teeny bop magazines and special jewelry. I swear I was laughing nonstop during the film because I know people like the characters in this film, and to some degree was like them when I was in high school! (The Newsboys used to be my favorite band...)

At any rate, great comedy with a great message. My sister, who should see it, never will, but nonetheless, it was a great way to pass a Sunday night while sick and sniffling on vacation in Virginia!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A Tale of Two Movies

Imelda screened at the NW Asian American Film Festival. Saw Garden State last weekend.

The documentary on Mrs. Marcos was really well put-together! Basically, she's crazy and is in denial that she and her husband embezzled millions from a third world country and foreign investors, and had tens of thousands of political prisoners locked up. She's so out of touch with reality that her mantra of "beauty, truth, and God" illustrates how detached she is from the economic situations of the people that both love and hate her. And though the filmmaker interviewed family members, former colleagues, diplomats, political prisoners, etc., there was really no need -- Imelda clearly shone thought in her own words as loo-HOO-ny!

There were naturally the personal connections. Grandma left the Philippines the year before Marcos declared martial law, and Mom left the year after. We didn't visit until the year the dictatorship ended and Corrie Aquino was officially recognized as president. I remember visiting Quezon City as a little 7-year-old, knowing that she was president but not knowing all the previous history, just that Marcos wasn't the greatest political leader. And knowing we weren't travelling too far south because there were guerillas (that was my first introduction to homonyms -- I thought Dad meant gorillas, and pictured them lurking in the jungles). I remember Clark AFB -- and 15 years later, even wrote a paper on the US policy of containment that created the "need" for an American presence that blindly excused all the Marcos human rights abuses because at least he wasn't communist ...

It's a little tragic how the second generation knows so little because the first generation is so reluctant to talk about anything! And tragic too that the second generation sometimes doesn't care until it's too late to get most of the oral histories.

And of course, the shoes. 3000, was it? There's an interview with one of Imelda's nieces, saying "You have to understand Filipinas!" LOL -- I know I have a ton of shoes, so does Mom, so did Grandma. ;-) Maybe there's a little bit of learned culture there ... Anyhoo, since the shoes are the only thing people know about Imelda, the fabulous voice-over in the beginning is Imelda's son saying "Forget about the shoes, get beyond the shoes." Good advice.

Ah, and Garden State. It's not on my Top Ten List or anything, but I liked this movie for the simple reason that it's my life! The sudden parental death; the hometown friends who live in such a vastly different world and haven't moved; the childhoods so crazy that strangers don't believe true stories because the lies are more comforting ... There were some awkward moments where the comedy was tragic and I couldn't laugh, and moments where the tragedy was almost hilarious. Some scenes are really disturbing, some are simply wacky, some awkward, some sad, some funny, some weird. Mais c'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?