Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Am Not Gretel

Hansel and his older brother
led me into the forest behind their house.

Just after we crossed the road
it became darker.

The trees, a canopy of great height
obscured the sky.

We walked through thickets
and brush for what seemed hours.

Along the way, we picked
blackberries and salmon berries.

We ate them and saved
some in a paper sack.

We planned on taking them
home to make a pie.

We crossed a stream, rippling
and cold.

Before us was a ramshackle cabin
covered in vines.

Though it appeared to be abandoned,
there were signs of recent activity.

In a fire pit, there was a pile of cans
and paper charred at the edges.

Hansel told me that a
witch lived here.

His older brother told me that
no one had ever seen her.

We heard a rustling in the brush
a few feet away.

We ran and the sack of berries
fell from Hansel's hands.

Maybe, it was an offering
to the witch.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Some of my favorite movies I saw in 2007

These are some of my favorite movies I saw in 2007:

Year of the Dog
I liked the mix of sadness and humor. Mollie Shannon was just perfect as a woman looking for love and finding it in an unlikely place. Peter Saarsgard was very good as a man who thinks he is doing "right", but is really clueless about his effect on others. Laura Dern was wonderful as the sister. The movie is a right blend of chaos and hopefulness. I liked Mike White's work as an actor and he displays a very fine style as a director.

Amazing Grace
An inspirational film about what one person can do to help bring change and justice to the world. I didn't know much about William Wilberforce before I saw the film, but truly appreciated his quest to end slavery in England. All of the performances were quite strong. Michael Apted is always at least interesting, but here is masterful with a historical epic.

Red Without Blue
This documentary just showed up on Netflix and I took a chance in renting it. I was very moved by this family's search for ways to love each other and their ability to love their differences.

Away From Her
I had admired Sarah Polley as an actress, but she proves to be a remarkable director with this film. Although all of the performances were amazing, Julie Christie gives the performance of her life as the woman sinking into Alzheimer's.

Amy Adams displays a naturalness that at times made me cringe for her and at other times marvel in her character's optimism. Celia Watson was great as the mother and the rest of the cast was without weakness. I liked that the film took me to a part of the country not often seen and made what could have been a bunch of yahoos rounded and moving people.

My favorite film of the year with first time actors delivering heartbreakingly real characters told through song. The music haunts me and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform it. I loved the way the characters find love for each other and don't act on it. The mix of humor and sadness is right on the mark.

Looking through this list I realize that these films are all about looking for love and finding in in unlikely ways. From The Boy and The Girl in Once who find each other on the street, to Peggy and her dogs, to Fiona and Aubery paralleled by Grant and Marian in Away From Her, these stories all looked beyond the typical into not only what can be territory for loving, but into the reality of new kinds of love.