Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pokemon Nightmare

I’m in love. I love looking at her falling asleep next to me. So trusting, so helpless, so care free. She trusts me enough and I am truly honored. I’d just look at her face, study her features- her bangs, forehead, eyes, nose, lips, chin…

She mumbles in her sleep: her expression that of fear and anger. This is not the first time I’ve seen her having nightmares. When I touch her to wake her up from her retched dream, she startles and screams even. I hate it when I add myself in her nightmares like that. She wakes up all distressed. She doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s probably something to do with her career, parents, zombies, a bully or clowns.

Then an idea comes to me: I should whisper something in her ear that will break the spell of her nightmares! What makes her laugh? I ask myself. I try to start a list of words that she'd find funny. I can’t ask her and discuss about it because it has to be unexpected. If I talked with her about it prior, any words that would be funny to her would get into her subconscious and be ineffective or worse, contribute to the nightmare that could be truly horrific. This is a tough task. Something silly, something totally non sequitur...

She is having a bad one. She keeps saying, “No…no…” Her face contorts in fear, shaking her head violently. This is my chance. I clear my throat as quiet as I can. I carefully brush her hair off of her perfectly shaped ear and whisper, “Pikachu, picka, picka...” in a high pitched cartoon character voice (granted my usual voice is a deep baritone). It takes about two seconds for her brain to register what is said (for me it’s an eternity). I can see the hint of smile on the edge of her lips. Her eyes open and she looks at me. Her smile gets wider and becomes a chuckle, then an uncontrollable, hysterical laughter. Then she kisses me. I’m just happy as a clam.

For Nicole

Reviving "The New Deal"

Wild River (1960) - Kazan *at Film Forum
It's the New Deal era Roosevelt America. On with the new, out with the old. But Wild River doesn't play out like that. It's much more nuanced and layered. Chuck Glover(Montgomery Clift) is a young gov't lackey sent down to Tennessee to oversee the removal/buyout of the land that would be flooded once the newly constructed dam is up and running. Everyone but one Garth family, headed by a stubborn matriarch(wonderfully played by Jo Van Fleet) is left on a small island in the river valley. Like the others before him, Glover ain't gonna change the old lady's mind. She has her life invested in the land- her house, family plot, the memories. While making unfruitful attempts to persuade the old Garth and having hard times dealing with the Southern way of life(the Federal Gov't pays the same wages to blacks and whites which is unheard of in this part of the country!!), it's the lady's young widowed granddaughter Carol(Lee Remick) Glover has his eyes on. Like the wild river, you can't tame the human drama from unfolding. Young Chuck and Carol know that things won't work out between them but they can help falling for each other.

Acting in Wild River is top notch throughout. Clift uses his sensitive girlyman image to the fullest here against roughneck backdrop and Remick as a pale-blue eyed, young sexy widow in heat comes across as fully three-dimensional. There are some really heart breaking scenes(including Carol throwing herself into speechless Chuck) to truly funny scenes(like drunken Chuck going mano-a-mano with the lady Garth). The racial tension and violence are there but never venomous or cliché. Kazan might have been a rat, but he knew how to direct his actors. It's cinemascope color photography is beautiful. The optimism of the New Deal overtakes the Wild River but it still observes astutely the melancholy of time passing.