In the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there is a scene where Rory Neary cries into his mashed potatoes. He, along with several other people, have had an encounter with an extra terrestrial that has implanted a shared vision in their consciousness. The thing is, he’s not sure what the image from the vision is. He’s been trying to replicate it with anything he can find. He sees the shadow of it in pillow cases and shaving cream, but when he tries to form it, it’s just not right. As he shovels mashed potatoes onto his plate and begins to try to sculpt them into the image, his family looks on in horror. He starts crying, and then his son starts crying. Throughout the film he defends his odd behavior, saying “this means something”—even though he doesn’t know what.Read More ›
One of my favorite scenes from Mad Max: Fury Road is when Furiosa learns that “The Green Place” she’s been searching for has long since been destroyed. She drops to her knees and lets out a heartbreaking cry of pain. It’s reminiscent of the scene in Little Miss Sunshine when the teenage kid learns he is colorblind and he will never pilot a plane. He also drops to his knees and yells a slightly more colorful word. Or when Willow and his gang of unlikely heroes finally arrive to Tir Asleen where everything was supposed to be okay, and find that Tir Asleen is no more.Read More ›
Last year at Hutchmoot, I was perusing Eric Peters’s delightful used bookshop when I stumbled on a work called The Silence of God: Creative Response to the Films of Ingmar Bergman. I had heard of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, but I couldn’t think of a single film of his that I had actually seen.Read More ›
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mom and I watched The Man Who Invented Christmas. It’s the mostly made-up origin story of how Charles Dickens (played by the delightful Dan Stevens) came to write A Christmas Carol. It was especially fun to see how his characters physically showed up when he learned their names. “Scrooge,” he finally says, after fumbling around with “Scratch” and “Scrounger,” and then suddenly an old, ornery man appears in his room who continues to follow him around for the rest of the movie, yelling at him.
When I was going through a particularly hard time a few years ago, a friend encouraged me with a story from Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. As a child, Corrie was having a difficult time dealing with the fact that her father would die one day. She and her father had this dialogue:
“On a scale of one to ten, what level is the pain?” the doctor in the emergency room asks me.
“Six?” I say. No, it’s more than that, I think to myself. At least a seven. But it’s not a hot pain, like when I sprained my ankle, or a burning pain, like the time I was stung by a hundred yellow jackets. No, it’s a dull pain that started in the morning and has lasted all day. I didn’t even know I was in pain until I started throwing up. Then I was dizzy and couldn’t talk.
In Ursula Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan, Tenar is taken as a little girl from her village because she is believed to be the reincarnation of the high priestess of the Tombs to the Nameless Ones. She goes through a symbolic ritual where she is almost beheaded but is spared at the last minute, so it is said that Tenar has died and Arha, which means the “eaten one,” lives on.