- Tuesday, November 8 2005, 23:11:08 (CET)|
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...first off I want to thank Adoni's mother for not giving up on him...then I want to thank him for sending me the CD...next I'd like to admit I was putting off seeing the film because we're all Assyrians and you don't know WHAT to expect!!!
I dreaded having to say something syrrupy just to make sure Adoni didn't grab Shushan and come camp on my front lawn.
I just finished seeing it and maybe I shouldn't comment so soon after, without thinking much about it...but here goes anyway.
I found it most enjoyable...thought provoking...it seemed indeed like a poem to me...I have to admit I'm a sucker for dialogue...I enjoy hearing people thrash things out...and even though it dealt overall with some weighty stuff...there were enough light handed moments to relieve the tension.
In other words, nothing in the film got in the WAY of film...even with the technical aspects that must always be a challenge when you're essentially paying for your own Sistine Chapel.
Having a son who's also writing scripts and getting his friends to help him produce...cutting corners and making the most of scant resources...I found myself appreciating even more the creative flourishes and improvised effects...done so well that you know that with a serious budget and the same good taste and creativity, these guys can compete with the best of them...that doesn't mean win ALL the time...who does? But they are UP there...and that's all we can hope for at the start and it is more than enough...without that, we aren't even players yet.
I don't know what other films of ours may have been first...but I felt very certain after seeing this one that we are THERE...we are IN...you know, if we had the same attitude about medicine..if we had grown up surrounded by the same hostile and downright sloppy attitude towards medicine as exists in most Assyrian households towards the Arts...we'd have nothing more than half-naked men with a bone in their nose to offer Stanford Medical School.
Thank GOD there are no "Assyrian College For Whatever You Wanna Cut With" medical schools. Thank GOD we understand that in order to do well...to have the CHANCE to become the best, we have to encourage our younger ones to crack the books...to do good work....to accept sacrifices from everyone and expect them too...so that we can compete fairly.
Whenever we have HAD to step up to universal and not "Assyrian" standards...we've earned our place among the best...whether in medicine, engineering, law, research...business...you name it...because we don't disparage what it takes to get there or the ultimate goal...therefore it's all the more amazing that in a community that encourages those who would be doctors to SKIP math and science...a community that applauds "4 plus 4 equals a banana", IF you are a "guut assyrians girel"...we have someone like Adoni and his pals who, on their own and from their own drive and desire, MAKE themselves qualify for Harvard Med.
None of us know better than Adoni what is "wrong" with the film. But that isn't the point...he doesn't need to hear it from us and he doesn't need empty praise, "just because he is Assyrian". he couldn't get into Medical School or fly a jet for BOAC just because he was "Assyrian".
One technical glitch that I found added something to my experience was the first instance when the sound fades a bit...during a conversation between the main fewllow and the waitress...their lowered voices, brought about perhaps because of the distance and the perspective that gave to the scene..made me feel I really was eavesdropping on a conversation...made me recognize that voyeristic component to films and plays...and I liked it. Call it serendipity...call it poor technique...tell Picasso to get glasses...but it added something.
I thought the scenes were nicely framed without being artsy...the scene in the graveyard, with the cross looming above....things like the way sunlight played and the dream sequences...the technical stuff...where it was solely a matter of taste and sense and not budget, were very well done...most professional without making you feel you'd seen it all before. which may be one of the greatest advantages to being broke half your life.
I liked also that things unfolded and became evident gradually...without losing you...and also without ANNOUNCING it to you. That showed a sure hand at the helm...a film that has this much dialogue without a whole lot of action scenes can appear over-directed...too many things and thangs tossed in to liven it up unnecessarily.
The voice-overs...as well as the more purely "poetic" parts blended well...as I said...nothing in the film got in the way of the film...poetry can kill as well as enlighten...it can fall flat on its face and make you sense the artifice...the music also went well with it all ( YEAH Jimmy Atto!!!)...what can I say...it was a most impressive and satisfying experience...made all the more so because it was a film by and about US.
I don't really need to see "Gladiator" set in Assyria. It would be some nice eye candy but, so what? The Assyrian EXPERIENCE in the modern era is what fascinates...and what we know so little of. It's as if a kid knew all about her grandparents but her parents remained shrouded in mystery and half-truths...you get a very fractured sense of where you come from....your direct link is missing...instead you have strong HINTS of what you were so long ago...especially if what you were in NO WAY coincides with what you are left to imagine GOT you here.
The dysfunctional family, or community, is at the core of this strange identity we have...it might just be more important for us than others to turn back and see our ghosts...the haunted father figure is playing out for real in Virginia, where an Assyrian man waits to be executed because voices drove him to murder a wife who simply wanted to realize more of her self...yes, we can be THAT primitive yet.
A father who would put his child in a place to take the brunt of his OWN failure...is OUR kind of father..it's OUR Heritage...that's how we GET these kinds of "Assyrians'"today, that's how we got to the point today when, for the first time in our thousands of years old history we have "Assyrians" PAYING and PRAYING for the destruction of their Heritage...their First family!...we are indeed being punished and punishing ourselves and each other for the sins of the father...and it haunts us...as it did Jimmy in the film.
And forgiveness isn't just saying you're sorry, you can't wash your soul clean by sending band-AIDS...not even with the cross looming over you to make it solemn and sacred...the father killed the mother...the father killed the sweetheart...the failure of the father...the innocence of the son, killed father and son...and killed love...love in the future...no one survived to live in that future...to love in that future....except of course the artist...who dreams all this anyway and can show the way out...AND, he got the girl!!!
note: I especially liked the impression given, that if you visit an Assyrian home...it could kill you...I mean the business of "insisting" you receive the "hospitality".
Thank you Adoni...
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