Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tuning My Conscience

If you've watched even one hour of the endless stream of news about the hurricane's aftermath, you're probably raw from the emotion or maybe the unfathomable nature of that calamity in our "untouchable" homeland has made you numb to it. This is usually not the time to heap another catastrophe on your heart's radar, but trust me, it's worth it for this one.

Saturday afternoon, K & I went to see The Constant Gardener. It's set in present-day Kenya where a British diplomat finds his wife murdered and wonders exactly what happened to her and why. The story is fictional, but many of the travails of everyday life for Africans are accurately depicted and they are . . . well, I held back sobs in the movie theatre.

It's beautifully-shot, well-acted, gripping, aggrieving, convicting. The editing could have been a bit less frenetic, in my opinion, but it was a magnificent film with a dramatic and terrible center - "man is a wolf to man," goes the Latin saying. It's not for the feint of heart (some on-screen violence, discussion of violence, fleetingly-glimpsed nudity), but it is worth seeing. The stark scenery is beautiful. The people of Africa are so lovely in their richly-colored clothes and their radiant smiles. The pain is so subtly, brilliantly depicted that it really gets past your defenses.

One reviewer called it "a thriller with something on its mind." Believe me, you'll walk out of that theatre with something on your mind, too. As another reviewer said, "Will most of western society continue to ignore the plight of one-seventh of the world’s population? Probably, but no one who has seen The Constant Gardener will sleep quite as easily."


Mair said...

We've been wanting to see it, so thanks for the review. As for New Orleans, I'm so terribly sad. That city has a special place in our hearts since it's the first place we visited as man and wife. We actually had been to many of the places along S. Canal St. that they were showing on the news. It is a truly unique place in the world, and I'm beside myself for all the people there, the loss and the devistation is unfathomable - in terms of both human life and culture.

E.A.P said...

Yeah, I immediately thought of you guys when I saw the movie. You should check it out.

I've also been thinking of you guys with reference to New Orleans since the hurricane. You said we should visit there and I guess we won't be able to see all the things you saw just as they were. We'll have to go there together in the future and you can tell us what it was once like. I just hope the musicians, artists, and others who made it such a cultural goldmine won't move away permanently.

Mair said...

Last I knew, Fats Domino was missing. Totally missing. I wonder how many other Big Easy greats will be claimed by this travesty.