is it about people that’s so compelling? I stare fascinated at
people’s faces in airports, street, listening, slightly ashamed, to
one-sided public cellphone conversations as if this would unlock the
infinite mystery of human beings.
an infinitely absorbing study, because as soon as you think you have a
truth, some human being contradicts it; as soon as you think you have some
surety, there is a betrayal. As soon as you think you can label this
person as “good”, “bad”, “humane”, “solid”, “reliable”
or “stupid” they slip out of your fingers and turn into something
art is something else. If it weren’t for writers and artists who hold up
a mirror to ourselves we’d remain mute creatures as unreflective as cows
chewing cud on a field living in the moment, simply reacting to life
rather than driving it.
the half dozen films I saw in the flush of the New York international film
festival, I came away with one idea that is worth my years of people
watching. It is this: In every human being’s life, there is a moment of
truth, when the mask displayed to society, the self-deception about
themselves is ripped off to reveal their true protean selves but mostly,
its not a pretty sight. A line is crossed.
some point in every human being’s life, an invisible line is crossed.
It’s shockingly easy. One moment you’re a rock, an upstanding soldier
and family man adored by your wife and children, and in days another
you’ve crossed the line you’re a killer, a wife batterer, your soul
curdled with hate.
the Danish short film Brothers, one brother, Michael is the rock: an
upstanding soldier and family man who is sent to Afghanistan to serve with
the UN peacekeepers.
brother Jannik is the black sheep: just released from prison, alcoholic,
violent, he shows every sign of falling back into his bad old ways. But
when he hears that Michael has been killed while on duty abroad, there is
a moment of truth. He is decent after all, helps Michael’s widow and
children rebuild their lives.
however isn’t dead. He is a prisoner of the Taliban and in his moment of
truth, is given a choice. Kill a fellow prisoner, a very young
subordinate, who he has vowed to protect or live. He kills brutally in
exchange for his life, for the love he has for his wife.
he returns he finds that his brother Jannik has almost taken his place in
his wife and children’s affections. No longer the heroic rock of the
family he is now a haunted tortured man, who almost kills his wife and is
aggressive in front of his daughters, pushing them away and towards his
film shows what people do when they are backed into a corner as Michael
was, or given an opportunity to shine as Jannik was. It explains violence.
It shows grace where we thought there was none as in Jannik’s care of
his brother’s family.
looking at that film, I called home and heard that the leader of the
opposition Basdeo Panday his wife, and several associates were arrested,
that we are effectively a “democratic” country without any opposition.
are many questions.
crossed the invisible line? Is Mr Manning’s “witch hunting” turning
a blind eye to the corruption in his own party?
Mr Panday culpable and where was his fortitude when Caroni was closing
down? Can we say either is wrong or right?
one good when the other is bad and how does the pendulum swing?
only thing we can do is remain vigilant and watch for a moment of truth.
if that revelation is bestial, know the bull charges when it is cornered.
is the beast and who is cornered? Time will tell.
its not a pretty sight.