Easy, not

In Film, Local projects, Revision on October 5, 2014 at 6:52 am

Yesterday, two of us sat in the local cinema for a private viewing of the film Promised Paradise by Leonard Retel Helmrich. Not even three minutes into it, we knew this was one of the documentaries we’d be showing in Gaillac and in Graulhet at the end of November. Only in reading up on it last night did I discover the film had been denied screening at the Jakarta International Film Festival. While not surprising, it’s a sad reflection on how the more thoughtful artists have a hard time of it – especially if they raise the thornier questions, the ones where a  binary answer is anything but a way out of the horrific messes.

Early on in the film, the main character –  Indonesian puppeteer Agus Nur Amal – meets up with his friend Endang, a street person. This is the year 2004. The Australian embassy has just been bombed and the traffic diverted. Endang reports that several buses were overturned and his friend answers: “How lucky for you that you weren’t aboard. You would have died and no one would have known.”

Two days ago, one of my characters said something similar or, at least, to that same general effect. Millions of people die every day – of natural causes, in accidents, in war zones, of neglect, of indifference, of ignorance. How much can you care, how far can you allow yourself to stop and think about some of the mind-boggling disconnects between stated intentions and the actions they inspire? How do you cope with your own disconnects, how do you make as much room as you can for what keeps you vibrant and alive?

On Facebook, this morning, I learn that a municipal council ordered a piece of street art destroyed. The work by Banksy depicted a group of pigeons holding placards telling an unfamiliar bird to fly back where he came from. Council decided the work was “racist” when, in fact, Banksy was holding up a mirror. Destroy the mirror, shoot the messenger.

Another day with too much and too little. Another day in which to discover what exists in what connects and what doesn’t.


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