What I'm Doing 28:
There were some great moments in this film, and I admired the way it was truly filmic. It showed by action rather than word. For instance, when the Robert de Niro character is pulling a net full of armour (as a penance for killing his brother) the Liam Neeson character watches him struggle for a while before cutting the ropes so the 'penance' falls away. The de Niro character then goes back and reattaches the rope, pointedly looking at Neeson as he does so. This is so much better than say, Neeson saying: 'Why don't you just leave it behind, you idiot?' And the de Niro character replying: 'Because I don't want to, jerk.' Or something like that .
It was about some great human themes: God and religion, innocence, goodness, power, redemption... However, the ending was grim and quite harrowing, and I had trouble working out what exactly it was saying except perhaps to show, once more, the hypocrisy of organised religion, and how those in religious authority forget what it's all about when their quest for power and domination become overwhelming.
The acting was superb, and I think I regard it more highly now than I did when I had just finished watching it. Some films are like that, I think - they seem to grow in my memory.
One of the best aspects, though, was the sound track. This was magnificent and moving and I've just downloaded it from itunes. Which brings me naturally on to...
What I'm listening to:
Soundtrack to the Mission.
This is wonderful, but there were some other vocal parts which I liked even more. I was delighted to find this score on itunes. Clearly I am not the only person who loved it.
What I'm Reading:
The Witness by Juan José Saer (translated by Margaret Jull Costa).
I picked this up at around three thirty this morning, and it seems to be the ideal complement to The Mission since this too is about a Hispanic encounter with a native population of South America (the 'Molucca Islands') but here the protangonist is not a missionary but a young cabin boy. As the quote on the front from the Irish Times says there are indeed shades of Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. There is the same sense of foreboding, and also the same briskness in dealing with the tedium of travel. Saer gives an impression of distance with quick sketches and snatches of detail and, like 'The Mission' avoids dwelling too much on episodes like walking through jungle or sailing for days along a coast.
It starts beautifully: 'What I remember most about those empty shores is the vastness of the skies.' and the rest of the writing is gorgeous too - which must be a tribute to the translator as well as the author himself.
What I'm doing:
A worrying amount of work. Also, Hodmandod Major is visiting with his girlfriend (Hodmandod Majorette, heh) so I am occupied there too. Although French, I am happy to report that Hodmandod Majorette has refreshingly unorthodox culinary tastes. Her favourite meal, she says, is a curry-filled pizza. With a good Beaujolais, obviously (or, better, a Côtes du Rhone, as suggested by Eric the Blogless. Thank you Eric! And thanks for spotting my Liam misspelling too).