Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gratitude 8/19/07

Some things I am grateful for today:

1) I just watched The Warrior. Here is the synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:

Named the Best British Film at the 2003 British Academy of Film and Television Awards, THE WARRIOR is a poignant look at the choices people are forced to make in order to survive. Irfan Khan is unforgettable as Lafcadia, a man who works as an executioner for a heartless warlord (Anupam Shyam). When a poor village is unable to pay him tribute, the warlord orders an old man to be instantly executed and the village burned and pillaged. For the first time, Lafcadia shows hesitation in carrying out his duties, and after a young girl (Sunita Sharma) shows him mystical snow-covered mountains, he considers running away with his young son (Puru Chhibber). But as he puts down his sword and seeks a peaceful, quiet life, his men (led by the stellar Aino Annuddin) are ordered to bring back his head, leading to horrific loss and a thrilling chase scene through the desert landscape of Rajasthan in India (known as the Land of Death). Part swordfighting epic, part spiritual quest, THE WARRIOR is an Eastern Western reminiscent of the films of Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone. Lafcadia's search for inner peace represents the conflicts that tear through the souls of all men and women, a universal desire for the beauty and simplicity of life.

I was really blown away by this film. It feels to me like a meditation on karma and the challenges of transforming our lives from what they have been to what they may become. This is definitely one of the most beautiful and moving films I have seen recently -- one I will have to buy.

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Here is what Roger Ebert said:

The film is interesting for what it does not show. Not only is violence offscreen, but so is a lot of motivation; it is only by following the action and then thinking back through the story that we can understand the warrior's thought process. And it is only because he eventually finds the source of his snowy vision that we understand the role it played early in the film. These are not flaws, just curiosities.

What is best in the film is its depiction of the warrior's epic journey, photographed with breathtaking beauty and simplicity by Roman Osin, who just finished filming the new British version of "Pride and Prejudice." The lands through which the warrior travels are familiar to my imagination from novels like The Far Pavilions, and by not setting the film in a particular period, the story takes on a timelessness. It is about people stuck in an ancient culture of repression, greed and revenge, and how some are able to escape it by a spiritual path. Parallels with the current eye-for-an-eye diplomacy of the Middle East are inescapable.

It may be that some American moviegoers will find the film's form unsatisfactory. We are accustomed to closure and completion. If a threat is established at the opening of a film, by the end, we expect it to be enforced or evaded. We do not expect it to be ... outgrown. Our plots are circular; "The Warrior" is linear. There is a kind of strange freedom in the knowledge that a story has cut loose from its origins and is wandering through unknown lands.

2) Last night's "collage" post was a deep bit of shadow work for me. I'm not sure where it came from, or why, but I'm glad it did. It unearthed some feelings that I have known existed. It's humbling to discover dark regions of the psyche that I thought I had explored and healed long ago.

What are you grateful for today?

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