Guns - lots of guns
Sitting here, eyes glazing over the screen, I was just thinking about the last two films that I've seen. Very similar, but oh so different.
Number one - Bowling For Columbine. I've been meaning to see it since it came out, having loved Michael Moore's Awful Truth and TV Nation TV shows (especially the bits in the UK version, where he made us feel special by talking to us during what would be the American version's ad-break), and having been educated, amused and politically-stimulated by his Stupid White Men book. And I'd say that Columbine is essential viewing for everyone (and in an ideal world it would be on the US schools curriculum) - shocking and thought-provoking (although I may not have learnt that much that I hadn't already discovered, he says smugly, and the 2 hour documentary format maybe didn't allow him to do much more than touch on some areas which deserved more space. Oh, aren't I so perfect?). It's difficult to know what was more disturbing in the film - the sequence of CCTV footage from the Columbine High School massacre, soundtracked by the panicked 911 calls which were made from the school (which made me feellike vomitting); or maybe the sight of Charlton Heston, head of the National Rifle Association, unrepetant, and detestably uncaring and unthinking (example quote from a NRA conference, held in the town weeks after the massacre, holding a rifle aloft - "Not from my cold, dead hands". Moore's later interview, confronting Heston, was uncomfortable in the extreme.
But still, excellent stuff. And it proved beyond doubt what the problem is in America (and increasingly here, thanks Mr Blair) - the fear and the terror, created not by the "terrorists", but by the government and their media. I can only wish for more thought, more consideration, less hatred amongst Joe Public. More understanding, untainted by the extremes of the political (and religious) spectrum, should lead to fewer bigotted, racist, uncaring and unhuman bastards out there. And, with more thinking, we won't let our Masters grind us down. Now that right-wing politics is based on the politics of fear favoured by Big Brother (from George Orwell's 1984, not the reality-TV show), we need to keep our wits about us. Don't let our "rulers" take us for granted. Don't let them take the piss.
Enough ranting. The other film - City Of God. Equally stunning. The true story of slum life slum within Rio de Janeiro. Well acted, vibrantly shot, and very disturbing. Entertaining and illuminating.
A film showing the extreme danger society faces when guns become cheap commodities. Put guns in to the world of children, shatter their innocence, and they will grow up to be ugly and dangerous as human beings.
And after those two hard-hitting movies, I'm looking forward to seeing whether Matrix Revolutions will re-ignite my love of things that go "bang" on screen. I don't think I need worry too much.
(And by "bang", I'm not talking about Pornography - The Musical, the late night Channel 4 shocker which I, perhaps thankfully, missed this week.)