Tuesday, November 28, 2006

“The brightest lights in the darkest night”

My mind is awash in feelings, thoughts, ideas and images right now, and I wonder if I can capture a few of them. I just got back from the film Babel, which profoundly affected me - and that is primarily what I want a film, or any piece of art, to do.

Make me cringe in my seat, grip the arm of my chair, throw my hands up to cover my eyes, grind my teeth in suspense and fear or shed tears in commiseration or even joy. Break my heart, make me laugh with barely restrained glee, illuminate me, edify me, lift me up and make me see and feel the world, if only for a moment, from a wider and more passionate perspective.

Babel: "For my children...the brightest lights in the darkest night." I expected to have children by this point in my life, or soon after, and this quote crystalizes the main reason as clearly as 유리. They must surely be the brightest stars, the centers of the deepest warmth and the focal point of the fiercest love, devotion, pride and pure, simple happiness.

Any love is like a star in the sky or even a feeble match in the deepest darkness. Both the star and the match can cease to burn and go icy cold in the core - leaving the chill of the dark night.

But from a child that love is perhaps the least corruptible and the most risilient - virtually unassailable and thus unmatched.

Electronica: A heavy bass beat, synth riffs, strobe lights, laser lights, chemical visions, heat, sweat and smoke. In Seoul we used to go to MI and dance our asses off. We would arrive at about 9 or 10:00pm, fuel up on liquid fire at "Route 66" and hit the floor by 11 or 12:00. And dance til 4, 5, 6:00 am.


Every freak in Seoul! And back then it really was. NBINB had just opened. Underground and Joker Red were electronica temples. Hod-gee Pod-gee was still in that little attic, with slanted ceiling that could hurt the head and collected the smoke at the apex like clouds shifting over the floor.

Man. The smile on that girl's face when she was dancing. Beads of sweat on sweltering skin and flushed cheeks in a halo of flying, long, sleek, jet black hair.

The whole crew: Blane, Laurie, Jamie, Dave, Alison, Unjena, Kelly....

Fragility: "Oh these little earthquakes / Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces." The stories of Babel sum it up very well - small moments that can instantly change your world or gradually add to change you as a person.

A woman felled by a sniper's bullet on a remote road in north Africa. A girl outside of the world we see and hear everyday, who feels like a monster for her seperation and isolation. A child who only knows to trust, and not to question that trust - beautiful and terrifyingly vulnerable.

Resilience: But equally little things can embolden the spirit, lift the heart and bring rays of sunshine down onto a face lifted to receive it. The kindness of a stranger. The taste of a soft persimmon or the indescribable comfort of a warm spoonful of Kimchi Jjigae slurped on a cold winter day. A picture captured at the right moment between light and dark. The strains of music or line of a poem that encapsulate a shared thought or feeling . The sensation of carressing the smooth skin of the one you love.

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