It’s laundry time again. Happens every week, like college frat parties. And I came to the realization this morning, as I was dumping an armful of dirties into my hamper that I keep stowed in the closet…I hate doing laundry. I don’t know why, but I have a visceral, almost primal hatred of the whole practice. I think, if I could, I would never wear the same clothes twice unless I had someone else doing my laundry for me. I’m deadly serious, though it makes my brain hurt to say it, since I’d just as soon have a maid or a launderer as I’d have a tractor trailer run over my groin. So what’s the big deal? What’s with my aversion to this totally honourable domestic art? After all, clean laundry is next to bodily hygiene in the “godliness” department, at least according to old folk wisdom. And with machines these days, you barely have to sort. It’s not as if I am washing it by hand down by a stream with a washboard and a bar of soap. So why do I hate it so much? It’s not as if I really spend a lot of time doing it.
Oh well. So I’ll get to it eventually. For now, I get to ponder the ineffable questions whilst stroking Ru-Ru and considering the sunny, chilly outdoors.
I watched Million Dollar Baby again last night, and I came to the realization that it is the Shawshank Redemption of boxing movies. In that Morgan Freeman plays the old, wise narrator. If he’s got any other roles in him besides that or the old, wise police detective who befriends Ashley Judd, I look forward to seeing them. Unleashed looks like it could be good, though Freeman seems unable to shake the casting couch for gentlemen who’ve seen a lot of the bad in the world but who’ve got an eye for redemption and reconciliation, and a knack for befriending the underdogs of his gritty, melancholy film lives. Oh well. He does wonders with this same role over and over, and I’m glad he won an Oscar for MDB.
Speaking of Oscars, here’s a short animation that won an Oscar in 1989. It’s called “Balance”, and is, according to the Wolfgang and Christophe Lauenstein. website, “a depiction of the absurdity of doomsday politics”. Watch it and then come back.
Slightly creepy, with none of Tim Burton’s arm-waving, kid-scaring charm. But leave it to a critic to reduce this to a singular metaphor. Okay, perhaps its not a coincidence that there are five clay men (or perhaps straw men covered with clay?) as well as five MAJOR nations on the UN Security Council, each with a kind of unwary, shaky allegiance to the balance of worldly power. Yes, I’m aware I just made enemies with readers from Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Japan, Phillipines, Romania (Romania? –Ed.), United Republic of Tanzania, and Algeria, but let’s face it, these aren’t the nations that will lead us into a battle with SkyNet.
But come on, a short film like this has about as many interpretations as a cat has whiskers. You’d have to be a modern graduate of English (oops!) to be able to reduce it to the catch-me meaning for all art produced after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not everything is about global power, political allegiances, or the games nations, parties, and politicians play with lives and policies. Though it often seems so, based on the amount of air time US elections receive.
I was struck by this film for another reason entirely. It seems to be representative of a zero-sum game, a situation in which the “participant’s gain (or loss) is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the other participant(s).” Oddly enough, my newest short film is entitled “Zero Sum”, and is, in part, about one character’s zero-sum situation with himself. Part spiritual exercise, part meta-reality, part message-oriented, my film explores what happens when a character finds himself in an illogical construct of sameness, in which there is no entance or exit, and yet where physical laws such as hunger and thirst are as valid as the metaphysical impossibility with which he is confronted. Translated, the question of “what is life” is merely a subset of the larger issue of “What are you doing with YOUR life?”
I dunno. Maybe I’m just full of myself and think the story and resulting film raise issues that are philosophically cool and hip and more than mildly intellectually stimulating. I hope not. I’d like to claim it as simply an escape story, but I’m afraid I’d be lying if I didn’t have metaphorical intentions with “Zero Sum”. It’s due to be completed no later than March 25, and, should it be accepted into the Progeny Film Festival, will have its local premiere on April 16 at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. I’m trying, in my limited spare time, to put up a small website before its release. I’ll link to it once it’s completed, and may even have a short trailer to post.
All that to say, I was pleased to see “Balance” and think of my short film tackling similar issues, though more oriented toward the spiritual rather than the political or the social. It tells me that despite my still limited vocabulary and cultural identification, I’m making headway and have come to at least some understanding of what might make people turn their heads a bit and ponder.
It’s time for me to go take care of my dreaded domestic duties and *sigh* stuff my clothes into the machine. One more week. One more week until I gotta do it again.
Maybe that should be the subject of my next film…Oh yeah, new LA photos are up…