Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reflection Pond #24

Marissa Nadler - Little Hells (2009)

Marissa Nadler has always been on the periphery the past few years. She was originally announced as a new voice in the freak folk movement with the aura of a siren. She was weird and beautiful and no one knew about her so I immediately wanted to get her albums even though they were practically impossible to find. Eventually she drifted out of the obscure corner of music infamy and I began to listen. Little Hells is her fourth commitment and the first that I have placed upon my list, though she was floating around on the edges of acceptance for the past couple of times through. Nadler is the type of artist that consistently improves on her craft. This record is easily her best and many nights, Xtimu and I discovered that she'd been haunting our home with her dramatic and ethereal presence. Her spirit embodies our thirty-something routine and we've grown comfortable with artists who convey a sense of waning, who take you down into the calm comfort of dreams.

Water - Deepa Mehta (2006)

Let's just say that I like Deepa Mehta a lot. She makes really good movies. There are times when you watch a movie and something really clicks inside you, like you completely understand exactly what the person wishes to express. You have a karmic link with the person almost or a string that binds you to their thoughts. That's how I feel watching Mehta's films. Water is the third of her elements trilogy and once again she doesn't mince words or create glamour in order to spread the message. She simply opens the book and allows a path into the culture of India in an unassuming and intimate manner, but also quite shocking, as there are those who feel that Mehta has crossed the line again. As with her earlier films Fire and Earth Mehta shows us an aspect of Indian life that is harsh and demeaning...for women, naturally. Once her husband has left her, a woman has three options: she can marry her husband's younger brother, she can throw herself on her husband's pyre and descend into hell along with him, or she can lead a life of self-denial. Told from an eight-year-old widow's point of view we experience a group of women who try to find some purpose in their lives. This is not a tale from some time long, long ago that has no bearing to this modern life but the film makes it perfectly clear that these aspects of the scripture are still practice today. Every culture around the world has some malevolent piece that poisons the very heart of its society. Quite often it is guided toward diminishing the value of a woman's life in the human sphere of activity. It's not an uncommon thread that we weave. When people start burning down the theater because of the movie that is playing upon the screen, then you've succeeded in telling the type of story that should be told. You have struck a nerve that may allow the world to awake from its slumber. I toast Deepa Mehta and her endeavors. May she always have an outlet to reveal the worth of humanity. Salud!

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