Living in Interesting Times
here we are living in interesting times again.
Curiously, as I write this there is a bright silver dollar full
moon in the sky and I wonder in G.W. Bush has an astrologer staring
at the same sky. Is it good for go or are their hidden warnings
in such a clear sky? What do the runes say?
Is March a good time to die?
Pianist wins Oscar for best Director and Best Actor and more 24.03
Polanski is still making films and this is his best for years.Perfect
timing. War is all about intolerance and survival. Adrien Brody deserves
his best actor award.(And his impassioned acceptance speech was the
highlight of the Oscar broadcast - in genuine contrast to Michael Moore's
fevered remarks when accapting his for Best Documentary. Go and see
The Pianist and see what happens when hatred and propaganda
make it legitimate to treat other people as sub-human or vermin, only
good for extermination. The film is disturbing, the images on the screen
of the devastation of Warsaw astonishing, the most horrific depiction
of the worst that war can do to a city and its people. The performances
are remarkable because at all times they think this is the worst
it can get, never guessing, even to the moment they are put on
the cattle cars to Treblinka that they are inevitably doomed. The message
of the holocaust is that we can never forget.
Last week we saw a small French film called Swing,
directed by Tony Gatliffe, about a young boy on vacation in Alsace,
France, who falls in love with the sound of gypsy guitar and the gypsy
people living on the wrong side of town. Tchavolo Schmitt and Mandino
Reinhardt lighting up the screen with their astonishing guitar playing
in the Django Reinhardt style. Its a sweet story about the power
of music and sweet young love.
The old gypsy
grandmother, silent throughout most of the film, casually mentions to
the boy about her youth, when she was his age, being rounded up by the
Nazis and herded into the death camps. She and her brother are the only
ones who survived out of a whole community. Its an astonishing
moment because of its stark truth and unexpectedness in such a cute
The Pianist is about events that happened in 1939 to 1945
and the survival of one man in catastrophic circumstances. Swing, made
in our present day, reminds us of the enormous crack in time that horrific
event rendered on our society. The world is still full of displaced
people from the Second World War. A German film, Nowhere in Africa
is coming to Canadian cinemas soon (and won best foreign movie in the
Oscars) This this tells about German Jews fleeing to Nairobi ahead of
the Nazis. Many fled, the lucky ones got to America or South Africa.
People ask, why didnt they all flee? The Pianist reminds of why
not. No one could imagine the unimaginable. Indeed, they asked themselves,
why should we be forced to leave our homes and possessions we have paid
for. No one, but those who planned the Final Solution, knew
what was to come, but the hatred and the state promoted intolerance
of Jews prepared the way well. A nation within a nation
disappeared and no one (but a few) cared.
The Holocaust isnt going away. The last of those who survived
may indeed be thinning out now, but they had children and they too have
had children - they forget at their peril. The aftershocks in the shape
of these films and Serbian tyrants and murderers who think ethnic cleansing
is a good idea are still very much around.
As we start another war against another tyrant we must heed the lessons
of history and prepare for peace and healing.
Now we have had almost a week of war in Iraq. The tragedies seem to
be the mistakes of war. Friendly fire bringing down a British jet, helicopters
colliding killing the crews. It reminds us that war is the best training
for war and perhaps they will learn from this. As for Baghdad. I was
trying to image what 1300 cruise missiles would look like landing on
Vancouver in one day last night.
Take a look at your city and try to imagine the same. 1300 explosive
cruise missiles, hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs, a veritable
'bliztkrieg'. I looked at Vancouver and decided that ten missiles would
probably do the job pretty well. 1300 is just so horrific you can't
image the horror that the people living in this Iragi captial city must
be going through.
I hope that this Sunday you have prayed for it to end and peace to come
swiftly. I also hope that the USA will be there to pick up the pieces
when it is all over.
© Sam North
March 24th 2003
This month in a rolling edition of Hacks:
An excellent month with new fiction and articles from Malina Saval,
James Campion, Colin Todhunter, Dean Ruetzler, Joe Sinclair, Ian Middleton,
Justin Jacob, Heather Neale,Tim Pile, Jeffry Beyl, Kira Isak Pirofski,
James Skinner, Alex Grant, Sam North and more to come. We cover world
journeys, reviews, comments , new fiction and the movies.
A genuine International Hackwriters edition
Renting in Kits
Escape to the UK
takes a break
MANY MOVIES- IT'S AN AVALANCHE OF CULTURE
will you seeing at the movies?
REALLY IS A FUN CITY
'The city where everyone gets to live a millionaire lifestyle'
SECTION 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
A cornucopia - October
The Kids stay in the picture- August
PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES
Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Hot Sweats in a Cold
Read at the Anza Club- August
LIFE ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver
on speed -September
SUPERNOVA NINA &
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island
- Off Fringe
ROUNDHOUSE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY.
Arts in the Community is for real -
WE ARE ALL GURUS NOW - September
Time to enrol
Vancouver Film Festival Trade Show report
FOR WAR February