Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beauty that Burns: A Filmable! I was recently watching one of my favorite films, Hero. It's a patchwork quilt of stories, all woven around the same characters. Each story is from a different perspective, and in each retelling the figures are robed in a different color. Jet Li, the renowned martial artist (and he is an artist) is a central figure. In the style of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this film is visually stunning. It is a feast for the eyes. It's a heart-breaking story of sacrifice, honor, love for country and letting go. I think the Truth gets muddied along the way, and the conclusion seems to affirm a Communist China. But glimmers of the Good are seen along the way. In one poignant episode, a calligraphy school becomes a place of martyrdom when an army comes to shut down this oasis of Chinese culture. The white-bearded headmaster stands his ground and calls to his pupils to return to their places just as a swarm of black arrows descends upon them like locusts. Jet Li, who is called Nameless, and the mystical character Flying Snow, step out of the humble school and into the barrage of deadly darts. With what can only be described as a poetic dance, they deflect the arrows and save many lives, sheltered within the school, safe again to practice their art. And their art is the art of making words, of tracing letters, of passing on the knowledge of these characters etched in sand. I wonder if with the countless amount of words we spray onto screens these days, how many will stick? How many will stay the test of time? Just a question to ponder. Do our words improve upon the silence, or do they not? Do they build up or are they like arrows that pierce and tear down?
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