Sunday, May 18, 2008

Me Having A Good Cry

Gracchus: I don't pretend to be a man of the people. But I do try to be a man for the people.

Gladiator is a beautifully constructed story, and Ridley Scott's execution is as always of the highest standard.

Lucilla: My brother hates all the world and you most of all.
Maximus: Because your father chose me.
Lucilla: No. Because my father loved you. And because I loved you.

I watched Gladiator last night and found my face wet with warm tears at the end. I've seen it before and wept previously. I think I can particularly identify with his frustration, and also the huge amount of resources dedicated to what often seems like futile acts of survival...and a way of living that is hard to believe in.

Commodus: It's a dream, a frightful dream... life is...

I also think his somewhat ridiculous enemy and that win/lose either me or you face off is something I can identify is so destructive and seems so unnecessary, but when someone places themself in contradistinction, with all their ignorance and contrived honesty, one can be distracted from what would have been a sensible existence. And what do we know about those strange things in the dark and a world apart from our world...that torture our brothers

Maximus: I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.

So I think my sadness springs from the recognition that strength, honor and courage can be sundered, all the good in a person can be undone but more basic forces - jealousy, insecurity, pain, fear - with such ease. The tragedy comes from being able to imagine how things could have been, the death of innocents, and how close one can come to a place of distinction (and influence) and have it inexplicably fizzle into nothing.

Proximo: [addressing his new recruits] I am Proximo! I shall be closer to you for the next few days, which will be the last of your miserable lives, than that bitch of a mother who first brought you screaming into this world! I did not pay good money for your company. I paid it so that I might profit from your death. And just as your mother was there at your beginning, I shall be there at your end. And when you die - and die you shall - your transition will be to the sound of... [claps his hands]

Life is not fair, but sometimes that unfairness can seem like a living thing that is solely bent on sabotage. The reality is that unfairness is not some unseen spirit, it is something that lives in the people that surround us, and lack greater understanding and context, and see in us a growing threat to themselves.

Maximus: I knew a man once who said, "Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

No comments: