Leon the tourguide

Leon the tourguide
Leon the Tour Guide

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Prophet.- An interpretation

Dir: Jacques AudiardSeen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Sun 3rd Jan 2016.

This is the first movie I saw of 2016. I certainly hope that it’s not prophetic.
I think that movies depicting people being locked up in prison hold us in rapt attention because most of us have conscious and sub-conscious fears of being locked up. I certainly identified with the prisoner in this movie because of my fear of being locked up and my fear of people in authority.

They’re all copies of an authority figure which my father represented to me. Every scene shows the prisoner interacting with authority figures and throws him into deeper complications with authority. His first struggle against authority is striking a blow at a policeman. For this he is convicted to spend the next 6 years in prison.

Here he encounter a worse authority figure  than the policeman, who is a criminal authority figure, namely of the underworld who makes harsher demands on his obedience than the authority of the law.

His obedience to underworld authority ends when he’s ordered to murder a Moslem leader. This and the illness of his best friend, also a Mowlem bring him to a realization that there is, after all only one authority to whom he must show obedience and that is Allah.

In fact this movie shows the path followed by a prophet according to the Koran:
'We hear, and we obey. We seek Thy forgiveness, Our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.'" (2:285)

The message of the movie is obey and seeing that you must obey someone it might as well be Allah, otherwise you’ll find yourself having to obey murderous commands given  to you by law enforcement personnel or by criminals.

Chronicle of a death foretold. - An Interpretation

Cronaca di una morte annunciata (original title) Dir:
Francesco Rosi Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Tue 5th Jan 2016
Not having read the book I can’t say how close this movie sticks to the story by the great author, Gabriel Garcia Marques. The scenes in this movie are works of art, joined together and put in a sequence that gradually reveals a multitude of plots all woven into one. Long after seeing the movie, the scenes, of their own accord come back into my mind, like a tune that once heard is never forgotten, demanding to be considered the main plot.

A man, on the prow of a river boat looks at the approaching land. The scene, without words, only the thudding motor of the boat, feint sounds of voices coming from the land, the brilliant white of an elegant mansion, contrasting with the dark gold of the water and a glimpse of narrow alley ways opening on to a wide plaza, hints to us that dramatic events, now memories, are going to be revealed here.

Even now, more than a week since seeing the movie, I ask myself, what I can learn from this tragic story.

The town’s folk have just celebrated a fairy tale marriage of a young woman. Immediately her prince like husband reveals her lost virginity on her marriage bed and returns her to her mother as spoilt property.

The lesson I learnt from this movie is that a woman whose honor has been taken away has the right to name the price for its recovery. Her price is the life of the most popular young man in town, full of the joy of life and hope in the future. It doesn’t matter whether it really was he who had robbed her of her virginity. The fact is that a fallen woman is dangerous; she can name the price of her lost honor. She chooses him to be the sacrifice, because he is worthy.

He is killed just like a sacrifice, stabbed to death in the town’s main square, while all the people of the town, his friends look on.

I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion had I continued, like most viewers, I suppose, to dwell on the mystery of whether it was really he who had taken away her virginity. If it wasn’t him, then who was the true defiler? Why didn’t she give him up to be murdered? Was she protecting someone? Who was she protecting? Was it the doctor? Or was it someone in her immediate family? Maybe even her father or one of her brothers?

The Night Porter - An Interpretation

Dir:  Liliana Cavani 1974 Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque. Tue 12th Jan 2016

This movie shows us that once a Nazi always a Nazi, but Nazis, like all humans make certain concessions to their lust for pleasure, especially the pleasure to be had from a woman, especially when she is at their mercy.

From the woman’s point of view her gratitude for the mercy the Nazi has shown her, knows no bounds and she is ready to place herself, once again, but this time voluntarily at his mercy, when she meets him after the war and she suffers the consequences.

These actually could have been good, that is she could have ended up having a happy marriage with the Nazi who had rescued her. 

But loyal Nazis still thrived even after the war and a pure blood German living with a Jewess was intolerable in their scheme of things. 

Their pursuit of the couple creates the tension that makes this movie an excellent thriller. 

This added to raising the question of how we are to relate to Nazis who had mercy on their subjects, makes this movie great.

The Purpose of Religious Belief

I'm sure that the perpetrators of terror attacks carried out by Muslims are motivated by the thought of punishing the infidel or something like that, based on instructions in the holy books and beliefs.

From the little I know about Islam, Muslims want to convert the whole world to Islam or to destroy it in the process; redemption or destruction. But this is the basic agenda of all monotheistic religions; this is Judaism's intention also, only Judaism has a method of “wait and let events take their natural course”. Islam and Christianity have a more active approach to reaching this absurd goal. 

I emphasize that I don't consider these beliefs absurd. I consider the goals based on these beliefs as absurd. 

I consider those beliefs very wise. Mohammed, Jesus, Moses and a host of others were very wise people and logically figured out what the world needs to survive forever. It's a very attractive idea. But it's not practical or realizable..

They've produced wonderful books with beautiful, powerful words. But these ideals are only good in theory. It's absurd to try and realize them. They are beautiful dreams.

We make a big deal out of wisdom, which is as it should be. I love wise words. I try to fill my days with them. I love them and they are mostly what I think and dream about.

But should I try to apply that wisdom to my life? God forbid. By no means. Wisdom must be kept in libraries, cinemas, theatres, art galleries etc. even churches etc. But God forbid that we should ever be so mad as to try and realize them. Their reality is in their creation. I will never dream of trying to turn my life into the painting of a beautiful scene I happen to see in an art gallery.

We love creativity and wisdom so much and they are expressed with such force that we forget to consider whether it's feasible. We humans must decide what is feasible and what is not. God gave us laws and we must choose which to keep and which not to keep.

For God's sake don't think that God means us to obey all His laws. That is ridiculous because we will get crazy in the effort.

It wouldn't make sense for God to command us not to keep His laws. The best He could do to help us is to give us the example of Adam. God commanded and Adam disobeyed and that's what He expects us to do.