Friday, February 6, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I didn't like it. I didn't hate it, but I didn't get anything from it. It is the yearly indie film that is supposed to be socially important, by lacks all moral ambiguity which would make it so. Hollywood has done this for years. In the late 50's a slew of Sidney Poitier movies were made to make Hollywood feel edgy and progressive, even though they were overly simplistic. The difference was that Poitier was very good. He found complexity in characters, where it did not exist on the page. In Slumdog none of these actors let us into anything deeper than the surface tensions, which were completely cliche and obvious. The gimmick of the show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" failed on several levels for me. Mostly it was beyond improbable, which doesn't bother me, if the movie has a fantasy element to it. Most films I love have this. If however you are meant to be raw, then you have to be honest with it. Like the Brazilian film "City of God", which dealt with poverty, loss of family and survival in a truly disturbing, but at the same time moving manner. The need to constantly have a good guy and a bad guy was also misused. The fat cop and the skinny one who tortured him became more like a combination Officer Krupke and Dragnet by the end.

Creativity and space

This isn’t as scientific as you might think by the title. The space I am referring to here is work space, not cosmological space. What a terribly boring way to start a blog which is meant to be more philosophical and critical. Still, today I moved out of an office space that I had been renting for three years. The reasons I moved out have to do with a number of irrelevant issues, such as I no longer have the job which I was using it for, and my parents no longer want to rent it for themselves, as they had been since the business sold, so it is time to move on. The thing is that I have had certain connections to places before. I could only write poetry for a few years, while I was in Paris. I could only do research for a time, with my father in Ohio. I could only drink too much, and contemplate an existential crisis at night. Luckily for me, I can now do that at any time of the day. What is more worrisome is that there were several key life changes that took place 3 years ago when we rented the office (which is really a one bedroom apartment without a bed). I was going through cancer treatment, and unable to travel. My only daughter was only 6 months old. I was Vice President of a technology company, and a Ph.D student. Strangely though going to work, alone in a non-descript Manhattan apartment freed me in ways I had never had. I started to write, I finished my dissertation, I authored 3 patents, I composed a score, I produced a play and I even started boxing. I don’t mean to suggest that I did any of these things well, but at least I was being creative. So now that I am out, I am wondering if I can find that same energy in other places. It would be stupid to think I couldn’t, but for some reason, the unreasonableness of connecting to an environment, for the first time in my life does seem to matter.