Friday, August 10, 2007

Movies & Photography

After thinking about Pan’s Labyrinth, I have to say that the movie is well worth seeing and more deserving of attention than some movies. Its images remain with the viewer long after seeing the movie. Not always pleasant to watch, the movie contains vivid imagery and imaginative depictions of the wonder and the horror present in a child’s point-of-view. It’s not entertainment meant for a hot summer day when one seeks to relax in air-conditioned comfort.

I had meant to see Downfall when it played in Kansas City a couple of years ago. The only theatre that shows lesser known foreign films is about an hour away from where I live. Downfall requires adopting a certain mindset before watching the movie because of the realism contained in the movie. Recreating the last ten days of the Third Reich, the movie reveals the other world of Hitler’s bunker, where Hitler blames his generals for their failure in keeping back the approaching Russian troops, expresses utter disregard for the German people and their suffering, and attempts to put into action counter offenses with troops that no longer exist; at the same time, the movie shows the brutality of war outside of the bunker where the few remaining troops face gut-wrenching medical treatment when wounded, where civilians attempt to find shelter, and where the Hitler youth attempt to defend the city and willingly take their own lives when they face capture by the Russians. Its realistic depiction of war reveals the fanaticism of those who adopted an ideology, the utter disregard for human life, and the utter cruelty to which we are capable of subjecting on others. Some critics have panned the movie for its portrait of Hitler as a human being. Like other politicians capable of mass murder, Hitler is still a human being. Ultimately, the movie succeeds because of his realism and serves as an excellent antiwar statement.

On another note, my thirteen-year-old won three purple ribbons for his pictures at the county fair. It’s going to be tough deciding which picture to send onto the state fair. Because of his age, he is allowed to send on only one picture. My wife, too, won a Grand Champion for one of her pictures in open class. I didn’t enter any of mine. None of mine were ready to show; it would have required deciding which one or two to enter and would have required printing them out. My wife didn’t decide to enter hers until the night before. I get satisfaction from knowing how positively the judge reacted to my son’s pictures. Several times, the judge expressed surprise at my son’s camera and the quality of the pictures. My kid only uses a Kodak P880, which isn’t a camera that the judge is familiar with.

I've enclosed one of my son's prize-winning pictures. My interpretation of the same scene at Rock City appears in June, 2007.