Saturday, April 04, 2009

What I'm Doing 28:

What I watched last:

The Mission
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).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm famous! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog, Clare!

Now I gotta get back to escaping paparazzi....


Sat Apr 04, 10:26:00 pm  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

The birds are tweeting and dawn is about to break. Wondering why sleep escaped me during the night and if I will manage to remain awake at Oxford later (and for a long time) today...

It's a long time since I saw the film, but the beautifully atmospheric music of The Mission remains with me.

Following her sad and all too soon death, I have been watching some DVDs featuring Liam Neeson's late wife, Natasha Richardson. A great talent and a beautiful woman.

Also wondering what Hodmandod Majorette makes of your silkworms? A fan of the curried pizza must surely have an open mind?

Sun Apr 05, 05:59:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yeah, I know the problem only too well, Eric.

Hodmandod Majorette is fascinated, CFR - as any sane and reasonable person would be.

Mon Apr 06, 10:45:00 am  
Blogger Ian said...

Have you watched Aguirre, Wrath of God? If you haven't, I think it might appeal to your tastes.

Tue Apr 07, 12:28:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

No, I haven't - thanks Ian. I always greatly appreciate film recommendations.

Wed Apr 08, 01:54:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation.

<< Home