Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Movie Night in Two Chapters


I am going through DVDs that are in front of me. Something he says makes me stop.

“Really?” I say.

“Yep,” he says, “the rescue team didn’t get there fast enough to save her.”

He tells me his friend died in a hiking accident in the Shasta Mountains in California. She lost her footing while climbing up a rocky hill. The dead girl was a friend of his since childhood. Her family naturally saw it fit that he inherit her movie collection since he is a film student.

Awkward. I am rummaging through a dead person’s movie collection. I regret asking him so insistently as to why he was giving them away.

“I’ve combed through and taken what I liked already but I didn’t want to throw away the rest. So don’t feel bad,” he says, “she died doing something she loved.”

They are mostly Japanese animations and samurai martial arts movies. I understand why he brought these for me. He doesn’t like them but I do. He’s that kind of a guy.

Once I put up Your Preferred Way to Die poll in a web forum that I belong to. The choices were:

1. You go to sleep in a freezing place (Snowy mountains, South/North Pole, etc)

2. By rain of arrows

3. In a skydiving accident

4. Getting shot through the heart

People overwhelmingly chose 1. The second choice was 3 followed by Rain of Arrows. Nobody chose 4. I wondered why, I thought it was a fine choice as any other. But hiking accident in the mountains would’ve made a fine choice too.

He had to fly back to attend a Buddhist ceremony on the 49th day after her death. Apparently, the Tibetan Buddhists believe that after 49 days of transitional stage called Bardo, your soul will move on to another realm. The day was yesterday.

* * *


He throws down a DVD case on the coffee table. I look up.

“What’s this?”
“It’s Izo.” He says.
“Yes I can see that.”

On the cover, there is a lone, dark figure standing in the middle, holding a long sword, looking away from us. Judging by the title written in oriental calligraphy, it’s a Japanese movie.

“Scoot over.”

I begrudgingly make room on the couch. He sits down soundly, puts his arm around me and pecks me on the cheek.

“Aw, you need to shave.”

He touches his face as if he just noticed the stubble on his face for the first time. He’s a goofball like that.

“Are we watching this tonight?” I ask.
“Do you mind?” He counters, while flipping the channel.

I check the back cover unenthusiastically. Images of violence and scary looking Japanese men.

“Well honey, I don’t know about this.” I say.

I like foreign movies as much as anybody. But it’s Friday night and we just had a nice dinner. I just want to vegetate a little on the couch without thinking too much. I look at him and there is his typical, I-want-very-much-to-watch-this look. He is a movie fanatic and I know that look. With a sigh, I give in.

“All right. But it better be good.”

We start watching the movie. And it’s terrible. Amidst all the blood and gore, I barely make out a storyline: Izo, the time traveling samurai, is the spirit of a medieval warrior who was tortured to death and now has to slash his way through salvation that may not come. It seems his soul can’t rest until everyone around him is dead.

After an hour of mounting loose limbs and heads by Izo’s blade, I’ve had enough. I turn to him to protest. Even before I open my mouth, I feel his hand squeezing mine. His eyes are still fixated on the screen.

“We will have some tea and cake after this.” He says without looking at me.

The movie is godawful. The splatter party continues until the very end. There is no resolution, no salvation, nothing. I’m seriously pissed off now.

“That was time well spent!”

He smiles and tries to hold my hand. I don’t let him.

“I’ll put water in the kettle.”

He takes off to the kitchen. I’m sitting there, my arms crossed thinking, no more of this foreign nonsense. He comes back with tea and cake. Then he tells me about the dead girl.

“So this belonged to a dead girl.”

He nods.

“And she moved on to another realm.”

Another nod.

“That’s good. Better than Izo’s fate.”
“Poor Izo.” He says.

I put the disc back into the case. And I ceremoniously put the DVD on our small DVD shelf next to our TV. Nice fit between Dawn of the Dead and The Thing. I look back at him. He’s sipping his Earl Grey.

“Let’s go hiking one of these days.” I smile.
“Let’s.” He smiles back.


  1. 2 and 4 are by far more epic. I think 4 would hurt a lot less than the other ones, no?

  2. Theresa. we need to find us a test subject to try on.

    For me, since I'm a drama queen, rain of arrows please.

  3. I pick 4. quick and clean. Dustin, i didn't know you are a drama queen :)