Seen at the CinemaChildren of God
Clive Owen is my archetypal man, so pretty much anything with him in it is going to be on my 'must-see' list. I was interested in this 'near future' flick for other reasons as well though. I saw it with a friend and it's always a challenge for me to see films with other people; I can't just isolate within my own experience.
She couldn't really take how violent it was and my response was that in a way I was strangely grateful. Because the movie makes so obvious and frequent allusions to US diplomacy (or lack thereof), I said that I found it helpful to make what we're doing and have been doing for the past five years more real to me. That we have held prisoners without due cause and without due process for more than five years; that we have bombed and terrorized (yes, terrorized) an entire nation and generation of Iraquis based on nothing but heresay and empty revenge; that we have tortured people and have made no apologies for it is terrifying to me. And to see a movie that depicts all these acts in some way makes it more real. Makes me unable to simply ignore it, not relate to it. I want to be able to cry over what is happening because of our policies and my tax dollar. I want to be able to mourn it. But the news shows no footage of what is actually happening; we are carefully groomed to know only enough to reinforce the status quo. Seeing what was actually happening in Vietnam was the beginning of the end and the government knows that--so any footage of the caskets covered in flags, any footage of women and chidren in hospital because of bombing or shooting by American troops, anything real is denied us.
Children of Men is not about the Iraq war--but it is about the neo-fascism that is some of our policies and the emptiness of counterrevolutionary violence. The natural outcome should disaster strike. Remember Katrina? Homeless, dispossessed people shot at by police. It doesn't take much of an imagination to extrapolate from recent events to imagine the world depicted in this film. I am not an apocalyptic accolyte; I do not believe that things are getting worse. But I do believe in the cycles of history and man. And it's coming around again.
The Freedom Writers
This is a genre film and there are problems with it--you're never really given a reason why her husband pulls away, the kids are clearly not 14-year-olds, and the oscar-winning actress is a little out of her element--but overall, I have to admit that I enjoyed this film. Probably because it affirms for me so much of what I hold to be true: if you're really seen, then you have a chance to shine. One person, one relationship can be the catalyst to change everything. This teacher, Miss G., becomes that for a classroom of kids in post-Rodney King riot's Long Beach. It is about the fundamental human quality of story. The story we tell, the story we create, and the story we have the power to change.
Now if I only had the _______ to change my own.