Monday, February 01, 2010

Reflection Pond #15

Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is A Mouth (2009)

Back in the early nineties we were given a gift of a film called The Commitments. It was an interesting romp of quirky characters as they try to start a band in Ireland. Not everyone loved the movie but I thought it was great watching this eclectic group of individuals form into a cohesive creative thing of beauty, only to eventually fall apart under the weight of their collective egos. For some reason when I see or hear Bruce Peninsula this movie comes to mind. Though they don't hail from Ireland, coming from Toronto instead, Bruce Peninsula has the same sort of aesthetic, weaving through a large group of quirky individuals, some of them permanent while others are members for life even though they may not officially play with the band anymore. It all began as a dream by Misha Bower and Matt Cully and has since mutated into a rollicking rollercoaster of fun. Belting out the songs with fervor, appreciating the voice of magicians, Bruce Peninsula has developed a wonderful sound that we can cherish amongst the madness. Every year I find a band that comes out of nowhere and somehow communicates effectively with my soul, as if this was the exact time for it. Eventually it will lead to a lifetime commitment on my part so I hope these lovely individuals know how to keep their egos in check.

The Edge Of Heaven - Fatih Akin (2007)

Fatih Akin is one of those film-makers who take the harsh aspects of life and discovers tiny little lights of beauty that make everything worth living. His movies deal with the cross cultural realities of globalization and the way they affect people's lives. Born in Germany and with strong Turkish roots, Akin's films focus on the way heritage struggles against the cult of conformity in our modern world. I simply love his honest approach to this exceedingly human quandary. In The Edge Of Heaven he follows three families as their lives intersect and divide and reconcile across the space of two countries. Ali, a Turkish immigrant living in Germany, consoles his loneliness by visiting Yeter, an aging prostitute whom he eventually encourages to come and live with him, which his son, Nejat, isn't very happy about. After a jealous bout, Ali kills Yeter and ends up in prison, so Najat heads to Turkey in order to find Yeter's long lost daughter, Ayten, who happened to be living in exile in Germany. While staying there, Ayten meets and falls for Lotte whose mother, Susanne, finds as many ways as possible to discourage her daughter's relationship with Ayten. Eventually Ayten ends up being deported back to Turkey and immediately gets thrown into prison as an enemy of the state, where Lotte soon follows against the wishes of her mother. Meanwhile Najat is now living in the same city despite having no luck at finding Ayten, putting up flyers with her mother's photo on them and eventually buying a bookstore. Lotte rents a room from Najat and proceeds to do everything that she can to get Ayten out of prison with the financial support from her mother, even though Susanne doesn't approve of what her daughter is trying to accomplish. In the process of these efforts Ayten guides Lotte to the location where she hid a gun earlier in the film while living there as a student dissident hoping that it might help with her case, but Lotte ends up getting murdered with that very gun after some street kids steal her purse. This brings Susanne to Turkey in order to retrieve her daughter but then she decides to take on the task of freeing Ayten. She takes over the room that her daughter had rented from Najat and eventually convinces him to reconcile with his father, who has returned to Turkey after being released from prison. As Najat leaves he removes all of the posters of Yeter that he had put up in the bookshop where Ayten eventually ends up staying once Susanne helps gain her release. At the end we simply see Najat waiting on the beach for his father to return to the home they shared together many years earlier. Ahhhhhhhhh...we go running from the theatre! No, it actually was a very interesting movie and now that I just described the entire movie I can see how it is one big metaphor for the difficulties that arise when children separate from their parents. We may go through our entire lives struggling to reconnect with them only to suffer through obstacles that ultimately deny us a reconciliation. Since I now have children of my own, these topics in film are much more interesting than before. I've always had difficulty staying connected with my own parents and Xtimu consistently encourages me to work to change that part of my life. Now, my relationship with my parents may not be as convoluted as a Fatih Akin movie but I can see that it's important to make the effort. I think I'll go call my dad. I haven't spoken to him for awhile.

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