Monday, October 03, 2005

You think you know who you are. You have no idea.

Tonight I took my hat and scarf for their first winter outing. When the woollen coat comes out we know we're in trouble.

The reason for the outing was it was cold out and I wanted to go see the movie Crash at the Ultimate Picture Palace. The last movie I went to was Downfall (grim, but Bruno Ganz was astonishing as Hitler) and that was in March. I'm kind of avoiding talking about Crash because it is a movie that has hit me hard. Maybe it is because I am a white middle class man and what happens in this movie is so beyond what I experience that this movie is so powerful.

The movie is an exploration of the interactions between the Black, White, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures in Los Angeles and the prejudices that inevitably arise. There are moments in the film that made me sit bolt upright and there were moments in the film when tears were a mere blink away. The movie pieces together five concurrent stories and as these five stories move in and out of each other there is the odd convenient coincidence.

Damn, I think I'm sounding like a movie reviewer.

So I'm going to stop that and try to explain just what it has done to my head. It has made me acutely aware of some of my prejudices. This is not to say that I should put myself over the rack because of this (the movie points this out) but also it endeavours to explain the origins of some of those, as well (for me) revealing some of the origins of the fears and prejudices that exist within the other cultures that the film explores.

Amidst all the corruption, depravity, despair and hopelessness of the characters, from the fall of the beat cop, the powerlessness of the senior cop and the prejudice of the DA's wife, there is also the possibility for a character to experience reformation. God (with a capital G), may there exist such hope and such openess in real people.

This film has not left me with a feeling that the world will heal itself, but instead it shows that within the lowest parts of the human experience there remains a hope that humanity has the capacity to prevail. But it is not so naive to state that all people will rise to the moment, and that we are all fallible and that sometimes there are tragic mistakes.

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