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August, 1999 Special Edition
I've been renting video films lately and watching them during my late night guard shift. The first 3 were real dark shock dramas: The Thin Red Line, The Ice Storm and The Sweet Hereafter. Here is my take on them.
he Thin Red Line is Terrence Malick's fantasy/realization of James Jones' novel about warfare in the pacific during World War II, but this movie is more of a poetic reverie or meditation on the general perennial condition of the human soul under extreme duress.
I wish it had been shorter and clearer, but you know what a poet would say if you asked them the meaning of their poem, they would just read it again. So I did bother to give it a second look, and a few things were brought into focus that I had missed on the first go round: now I could distinguish between 2 main characters in the squad of American soldiers who look remarkably & confusedly alike. Also, I was more prepared to flow along with the deliberately languorous ambiance of this cinematic masterpiece.
he Thin Red Line is not an altogether pretty picture, people get blown to pieces in horribly merciless scenes, yet there is a sanctity underlying the entire film, a questioning undertow that seems to come from within ourselves, as well as from the inner world of the characters. It's as if we've wandered into the sacred precincts of a scarcely remembered dream, confronted therein by visions of the original, mythical ones who betrayed themselves and their paradise at the very beginning of time, and of our so transparent determination to lay waste the beauty and the possibility of our world.
Just listen to some of these lines, emanating from the sub-consciousness of Malick's actors:
"If I go first, I'll wait for you there, on the other side of the dark waters."
"Are you righteous, kind, does your confidence lie in this, are you loved by all? Know that I was too."
(And please be aware that each of these fragments occur at different moments within the film and belong to specific scenes.)
"This great evil, where does it come from? How did it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doing this? Who's killing us, robbing us of light and life, mocking us with the sight of what we might have known? ... Is that darkness in you too?"
"War don't ennoble men, it turns 'em into dogs, poisons the soul."
"We were a family, had to break up and come apart, so that we're standing against one another, each standing in the other's light. How did we lose the good that was given us, let it slip away, scattered careless? What's keeping us from reaching out, touching the glory?"
he Thin Red Line might be annoying at times, but if you've got some time and patience, I say it's well worth seeing!
As for The Ice Storm, don't go there, unless you're a real glutton for self-punishment. And The Sweet Hereafter, it's an exquisite gem, but I didn't get it until Luanne DiBernardo explained to me that it has to do with child abuse. Look -- if these flicks are too heavy, go see Franco Zeferelli's Tea With Mussolini, it's just heavy & light enough to productively enjoy.
--Bill Joyner (8-3-99)
The Teaching Farm & Peace Camps
We are very excited about the new Peace Education Center nearing completion at the Teaching Farm of the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, near Hampton, FL (about 15 miles northeast of Gainesville). This project of the FCPJ is the realization of a dream of many of it's long time members and is a tremendous achievement resulting from the dedicated efforts and contributions of many over several years.
I cannot let another Seed Catalog go by without assigning tremendous credit to the following friends who helped me gain access to the world-wide-web of cyberspace. So, thank you all:
Mark T. Charts, Arlene Keddie, Lea Hoffman and Kavita Sadhwani
You're welcome Bill , it's been my pleasure bringing the Seed Catalog into a new realm -- Lea
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We are your creation, involved with each other more completely than we can ever know. Just a glance away, and all is lost. Our peace is so tenuous, our connection to one another so limited, our best intentions so easily betrayed from within.
O let us learn to be still, to provide a safe refuge amid swirling rapids of violent disruption, to find renewal for ourselves and others. May our love be pure, not consumed by selfish desire. Let our existence be as strong and clear as a pure running stream.
Arouse hope & courage within our failing hears, bring a ready smile of compassionate assurance to our faces, even in the weary, dark moments. Liberate us from despair as we rush to one another's side in time of need, standing tall and sure together in the light of our own living unity. Amen.
--Bill Joyner (8-3-99)
YESTERDAY, TOMORROW, ETC. "TIME WARPS"
man on THE ART BELL SHOW (late night
talk), Dr. Ron Lura (sp?), said that he is "reconceiving reality" in such a way
as to suggest that time and space and consciousness possess qualities of
infinite simultaneity, inter-relatedness and multi-dimensionality.
I don't know about all of that, but I do know that the past is receding and the future is arriving at an amazing velocity. All is vanishing and reappearing. And the question does most fearfully arise, are we only a part of the flux, stranding for but an insubstantial moment on the precarious island of "now," trapped between two vast, unattainable immensity's which we call yesterday and tomorrow?
It seems to me that reality is not so simple and compartmentalized as we think it is; rather, it appears like a simultaneous wave moving in one continuous sweep across the sea. Or like a wheel, with all components -- life & death, past & present, infinity & mortality -- turning within the same circle. Reconceived in this manner, we are one with all that is or has been or ever will be. "Now" is not some ephemeral island, but the crucial, connective tissue between all possible worlds -- of which there may be many more that we could ever imagine.
--Bill Joyner (8-3-99)
"A child can be lost though
he is fed and sheltered and sent to school. A child is lost if there is no human
being with whom he can communicate in terms of love, a human being to whom he
can turn as a flower turns to the sun, a human being who is the center of his
life, and in the center of whose life he is."
Children for Adoption
Have a good day, you make it so. Corita Kent
The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
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