I'm going to take a time out from my essay on Orwell to say a few words (Ha, I take a break from writing by writing, that's funny).
I watched Jim Sheridan's In America again last night. I was moved again, in a film that I'm convinced was one of the most underrated films of 2003. It's a film that demonstrates clearly the differences between emotionally mature sentimentality about life and the sap that passes of as sentiment these days (Patch Adams) but is merely manipulative and cheap.
In America is a joyful film, though it's not always happy. Sheridan manages to put together ordinary moments in life and make them feel like the most important and amazing things there are, which is what an artist should aspire to do. The scene where Johnny, the father, is trying to win the E.T. doll for his daughters at the street fair is one of the most intense sequences I've seen on film in a long time. Each time he misses and takes the rent money to keep playing...it's excruciating, but at the same time you completely understand that he isn't going to dissapoint his daughters.
And yes, those girls, the real-life Bolger sisters, Emma and Sarah, who were cast in the role are the kind of children I hope to have one day. Filled with joy, yet never fake, the are amazing in the role without moving into the overly precocious territory that is the domain of the Dakota Fannings and Haley Joel Osments of the world. I'm amazed at the performances those children delivered.
This time the film got me thinking about the themes of family and community. How quickly humans can create communites. It is, I believe, a fundamental human need. In the film the family has only been in New York for a year, and already they ahve so many friends - Mateo, the Italian neighbors, etc. In a similar way I thought of this blog community, and the English community at university, and how it has sprung up in the past year to actually mean something. Many of you I never knew until this past year (or haven't even met in person if you're just passing through). Funny how even in the digital frontier, we instinctively seek out community and contact with others.
Also, I'm listening to Franz Ferdinand, which I finally bought, and the Killers Hot Fuss, which I borrowed from Luke (thanks man). I'm really digging both - I like "Mr. Brightside" a lot better when it's not on the radio, and I think it's actually an excellent song and of course the other standard, "Take Me Out" is as good as ever - and there's a lot of stuff on there that makes the albums more than worth buying. Both are still rock, but they make me want to dance and that's a good thing.