The son of a Hong Kong gangster has to hide out in the mountains of Taiwan. This bored troublemaker from the city joins a Zen drumming troupe and slowly discovers rhythm and stillness. I just watched the DVD — a wonderful movie. Highly recommended!
A description of the story from the website:
Unlike the violent and extremist image of Pakistan in the media, KASHF – THE UNVELING takes us on a journey exploring the mystical side of Islam.
Armaghan is born out of an oath his mother makes to a Pir (Holy man) she meets at a Sufi Shrine when she is childless. She promises the Pir who blesses her to let her child “walk the path” when he grows up. Armaghan ‘the gift’ is born in Pakistan but sent off to the US to live with relatives after his father’s death. He returns to Pakistan after 25 years unaware of the family secret about to change his life…
It’s about time for another post on poetry in the movies, don’t you think?
I didn’t expect much the when I first saw the movie In Her Shoes. The movie trailers made it look, well, silly. I was surprised to discover a movie with depth, a comedy-drama with insight into the tensions between close siblings, with insight into the ways early traumas can shape the way we grow into adulthood, the way we develop self-destructive patterns — and ways we can finally recognize a greater wholeness in ourselves.
And poetry plays a central part in that journey…
Here is the text of the e.e. cummings poem from this video clip:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Another powerful poem highlighted in the movie is Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”:
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
When I sent out the email announcing this new blog a few weeks ago, I asked for your suggestions about what sort of posts and articles you’d like to read. Among the many excellent suggestions, one consistent request kept coming up: Tell us more about yourself.
You visit my website, read my comments, receive emails from me, so it’s a fair question: Just who is this guy?
What’s his story?
Which roads has he taken?
So maybe I should start to tell you a little about my own journey…
I just rented it a few days ago. It’s the thoughtful, visually stunning, exhilarating, heartbreaking film directed by Sean Penn telling the real-life story Christopher McCandless (played by Emile Hirsh), a young man who, in the early 1990s, abandons his upper-middle-class life and takes to the road in search of something authentic. He donates most of his money to charity, burns the rest, and travels across the heartland and deserts of America before heading north to face the wilds alone in Alaska.
Watching “Into the Wild” was a surreal experience for me. That was me at age 17. I took a journey with surprising parallels to the one in the movie. Like the young man in the movie, I too severed ties with friends and family, traveled through the deserts of the American Southwest, and eventually traveled north with the intention of disappearing “into the wild” of Alaska.
As much as being a movie about poetry, Dead Poets Society is a movie about how to live life, how to grow into a full human being, rather than simply meet societal expectations and then die.
Here’s a quote from the movie I really like:
“I’ve a little secret for you. Huddle up. Huddle up! . . . We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Now medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman:
O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish…
What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse. [full text]
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
“Old & new world music featuring harp, hammered dulcimer & tabla tarang.”
Glen Falkenberg’s music — even the album’s cover photo — remind me of my childhood in Eugene, Oregon. The back-to-nature hippie culture mixed with the Renaissance feel of the Oregon Country Fair. The sweet tang of hammered dulcimer and dreamy strain of harp…
This weekend I started asking myself, What are some of the best uses of poetry in the movies? I can think of a handful of movies about famous poets, and a few more that use poetry in a powerful way — though, when I started writing them down, the list was not very long.
One of the first movies that I wrote down was “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” I still find the movie to be very funny. How can you go wrong with an appearance by Rowan Atkinson as a stuttering priest performing his first wedding ceremony? But the emotional heart of the movie, the scene that stays with you longest, is John Hannah’s truly moving reading of W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” read for his dead partner…