Monday, February 18, 2013

Blessings #11

Heartless Bastards - Arrow (2012)

When we first came to the mountain we were terrified but also excited. We knew from evidence that there were great riches up in the high hills but knew also that it would be extremely difficult to set up some semblance of community. We labored hard those early years but eventually homes and a town sprang up in the harsh climate. By then we were making great headway into a vein we discovered that was our gateway into the heart of the mountain. It provided much bounty for us and by the time our children were old enough to work, our community was thriving. Many of our initial fears had been replaced with more mundane concerns by then, so we were not prepared to endure the horror of what came next. I cannot speak of exact knowledge about what we found deep in the mountain, for I never saw it with my own eyes, but it was something that should have remained buried. I lost my two boys early to the terror that came forth like a cloud of locusts to devour everything that we built. Most of those who survived fled quickly, thankful to be spared, but some us tried to stay and fight. After the town burned to the ground, we set up a camp up on the ridges looking down, hoping to have a more prosperous advantage point when the beast decided to venture forth once again. Perhaps it had been satiated because we saw or heard nothing for almost three months. Then in the heart of winter, Klaus went missing. I discovered his trail down near the mother lode and to this day, I am certain that something was watching me when I stumbled upon the blood. Klaus was a large man and that may be the only reason I am here still to tell this tale. The two brothers, Peter and Harold, and I managed to close the vein with a dozen sticks of dynamite and a whole lot of gumption. We surely would have perished if we tried to kill the monster and I've never felt more accomplished in my life than in that moment, staring at the rubble. I hoped and prayed that I would never feel that type of fear for the rest of my life. I've stayed close enough to watch over the mountain, to know if there was a chance that someone might unlock the key to the cage that held such a destructive force. Now, amidst my ninety-third year upon this earth, I am astonished to see massive equipment being loaded up the mountain, fracking gear. Oh, good lord, how can this be happening and no one is interested in listening horror stories from an old man. But as I live and breath, I know with a doubt that what they are doing up there will bring about the destruction of all that we know.

The Last September - Deborah Warner (1999)

Following the 'Great War' in the early 20th century, Ireland fell into a delicate balance between the occupying force of the English army and the inhabitants, a mixture of wealthy elite who helped support England's rule of their homeland and the commoners, who hold the English occupancy in contempt. There was a fine line between keeping the peace and rising up in resistance. "The Last September" is a film adapted from the novel of the same name that was written in 1929 and it is a keen insight into the atmosphere of the country at the time. It follows the story of Lois, the niece of Sir Richard Naylor and Lady Myra Naylor, as she visits for the summer with her cousin Laurence. They grew up spending summers in the region and are acquainted with many of the residents but now they are coming of age, which, along with the aftermath of the war, creates much drama. Lois is being courted by Gerald, a young Black & Tan officer, but she only has eyes for Peter, a boy she grew up with who is now part of the resistance. Warner does a wonderful job at creating some of the anxiety caught up in the interwoven story. You truly get a sense of Lois's conflicted feelings and responsibilities. She wants to trust her heart but also is acutely aware at how much pain it may bring. Though it is light at first, almost to the point that it's hard to believe that their is great tension between these two nations that just fought for years, as the film leads toward more serious decisions, the tale becomes more and more somber. With each step Lois takes toward adulthood we are faced with greater truths about the nature of life and death, a solemn tale with which we all can relate. This movie addresses a part of history that we don't normally discover and it's told with a magnificent eye for cinematic storytelling, along with many great performances from some of the greatest English actors of our era. In the middle of it all is Lois, played by Keeley Hawes, who is one of the great heroines ever set upon the silver screen.

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