I’m here at work, recovering from a filling this morning. My mouth is still quite numb and I’m trying not to dribble espresso all over my clothes and keyboard. I’m thinking lunch will be liquid. All in all, though, it wasn’t that bad and certainly not nearly the nightmare that has been suffering. So all is good.
The Frenchman is back now from Princeton where he was travelling on business. While he was gone, I finally watched a movie that he’s lectured on extensively and about which he’s written many papers: La Haine, also known as Hate, which was distributed by Jodie Foster’s production company here in the U.S.
It was, to put it mildly, explosive. Filmed in black and white, the story tracks three young men — Arab, Black and Jewish — who live in the suburbs of Paris in 1995 where the riots would eventually break out. The movie is positively prophetic (or inspiring, as the case may be), as it was released in February of 1995 and the civil unrest that would rock the nation breaks out the following November. With liberal dashes of humor and poignancy, the story follows the lives of these unemployed young men through 24 hours of poverty, racism and brutality as one of them comes across a gun lost by a cop during a riot that kills a friend of theirs.
I get why The Frenchman is so passionate about this film. It should have shaken awake France to its hate. It did — a little. Not enough to prevent the death and destruction of the ensuing unrest. It’s shameful that this same director went on to make Gothika and now what looks like an awful science fiction thriller with Vin Diesel. I think aliens (aka Hollywood) have abducted his brain and put it in a jar somewhere so that he can no longer make world-shaking films.
Death in Charge
I also went to AFI to see a screening of my friend Devi’s latest short film that she made during her directorship program. The very funny dark short is called “Death in Charge.” Apparently after Death kills the babysitter on her way to her next job, Death heads to the house itself to take out the Mom. But when the Mom mistakes Death for the babysitter, much silliness ensues involving violent video games, macaroni and cheese, and a toy army tank.
It rocked seeing Devi (we’ve been friends for over a dozen years) and her Indiana Jones husband, Dr. Fuentes, as well as meeting Devi’s folks. Dr. Fuentes and I lamented the number of popular science books and waxed admiringly of PZ Meyers et al. While he’s written a few books now, he’s working on a book that’s more accessible to the average reader.
Okay, back to work!